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Post-Bailout, Lobbying Continues

Without skipping a beat, once-troubled financial entities are continuing to spend big to lobby Congress as they pocket billions in TARP bailout money. The lobbying is defended by the bail-outted firms as a “transparent and effective way” to be heard on policy issues.

The Wall Street Journal:

Troubled financial institutions and the Detroit auto makers continue to spend heavily on lobbying Congress while accepting billions of dollars in U.S. government money, reports to Congress suggest.

General Motors Corp. spent $3.3 million on lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2008, a period that coincides with the government committing $13.4 billion to the ailing auto maker under the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. In all of 2008, GM spent $13.1 million on lobbying, down from $14.3 million in 2007. GM’s reported lobbying expenses for 2008 were only slightly less than combined spending by Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC.

“Lobbying is the transparent and effective way that GM has its voice heard on critical policy issues…that companies should not be required to forfeit if they receive federal funding,” said GM spokesman Greg A. Martin, who added that no funds lent from the Treasury would be used for lobbying.

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