While we may typically think of special interests in terms of citizen advocacy groups like the NRA or PETA, legislative pressures today largely come from corporations.
Identify a for-profit business you have personally patronized in the last 3 days. This can be a physical store, an online merchant, a gas station, a fast food establishment, etc. Do some research on this corporation’s lobbying efforts. How involved/vocal are they in shaping legislative policies, either at the national or local level? What issues do they generally advocate for or against? How many lobbyists does this organization employ (either in-house or via contracting with outside lobbying firms)? Do they contribute money to certain parties, candidates, or PACs? Does anything in their lobbying or contribution record surprise you? Provide links to interesting findings.
Note: If you are struggling to find information about your selected corporation look to the lobbying efforts of their parent company (e.g., Amazon owns Whole Foods, Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands, Inc.).
*Note: Reaction posts should be approximately 2 paragraphs in length.
no citations or quotations reaction post is opinion based
I recently visited Cabela’s to augment my provisions for hunting season. Cabela’s is a subsidiary of Bass Pro Shops so I will look at Bass Pro Shops lobbying efforts for the purposes of this post. While I may be able to find the expenditures and recipients of Bass Pro Shops I have not been able to link Bass Pro Shops to activity involving specific legislation. As a company that profits from continuation of time-honored American pastimes such as fishing, hunting, target shooting, and camping, I would assume that Bass Pro Shops’ efforts are focused influencing legislation involving firearms, fishing, hunting and wildlife conservation (not in an anemic WWF/PETA sense, more of in a [Teddy] Rooseveltian ‘enjoy shooting and catching wildlife while ensuring future generations can do the same’ kind of way).
Once on opensecrets.com, I found that Bass Pro Shops have spent a total of $516,647 in the last 28 years. Of the $516,647 spent, 93% has gone to the GOP, 6% has gone to Democrats and 1% has gone to private individuals (soft money). In 2018 Bass Pro Shops spent $35,561 on contributions. The following table shows Bass Pro Shops top recipients of 2018.