While 2010 was a lean year on K Street ó Roll Call reported last week that total lobbying spending dropped last year for the first time in a decade ó there were still a few Members and their charities that were richly supported by lobbying groups. Among them were House Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and his research and scholarship foundation, with 25 donations totaling $354,000 during the last six months of 2010. Others were Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), who had 18 expenditures made in his honor totaling $294,000, and Sen. Tom Harkin, (D-Iowa), with six donations totaling $218,000. Texas Republican Rep. Joe Bartonís family foundation also received $15,000 from AT&T and the Health Care Service Corp. while California Democratic Rep. Joe Bacaís foundation received contributions totaling $9,000 from companies such as Nike Inc., Rentech Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also continued to be one of the top recipients of K Streetís generosity. Since July 2010, defense contractors spent $312,000 on events to honor Gates, including $100,000 from IBM and $50,000 each from by BAE Systems, Raytheon Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. In all, the eight defense contractors that disclosed spending on behalf of Gates received more than $108.6 billion in contracts during the 2010 fiscal year ó nearly 30 percent of the Pentagonís budget.
In the last half of the year, several major companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Wal-Mart spent more than $500,000 in donations honoring Members.