Lobbying at the Water's Edge: The Corporate Foreign Policy Lobby
36 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2015
Date Written: July 13, 2015
Each year, groups ranging from multinationals to non-profits spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying America’s federal government on foreign policy. This massive flow of private dollars raises concerns about the health of political pluralism in the realm of America’s international relations. Using an original dataset that combines tens of thousands of Lobbying Disclosure Act filings from 2007 to 2011, information on the content of proposed legislation, and financial data on all publically listed firms in the U.S., we argue that corporate interests dominate the foreign policy lobby; that there are inequalities among firms in lobbying investment that parallel market advantages; and that the firms that lobby are not representative of the median voter. Rather than providing counteractive lobbying that represents the broad range of American opinion, the multitude of voices that lobby major foreign policy bills affecting America’s stance in the world are likely compounding the bias towards large corporations that on average advocate center-right positions.
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