http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/washington-dc/us-capitol

BY MICHAEL BECKEL – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the perennial No. 1 top spender on lobbying and a vocal opponent of many of the Obama administration’s top legislative priorities, once again ended the year with a lobbying surge.

Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its subsidies spent $50.9 million on lobbying at the federal, state and grassroots levels, according to a Center for Responsive Politics review of reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records Thursday. That’s a 38 percent increase above its third-quarter spending.

Overall in 2010, the Chamber spent $132 million on lobbying, down 8.6 percent from its all-time high of $144 million in 2009. Nevertheless, the Chamber again in 2010 ranked as the No. 1 top-spending lobbying client — although it should be noted that many organizations, unlike the Chamber, report only federal-level lobbying expenditures in these reports.

In 2009, the Chamber reported a whopping $79 million in fourth-quarter lobbying expenditures amid the legislative home stretch of Democrats’ health care reform and Wall Street reform plans.

Fourth-quarter lobbying reports were filed Thursday with the U.S. House and Senate. In the coming days and weeks, the Center for Responsive Politics will be integrating this new information into the OpenSecrets.org lobbying database and sharing trends and analysis here on the OpenSecrets Blog.

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The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking and reporting on money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The nonpartisan, nonprofit Center aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more responsive government. The Center's award-winning website, OpenSecrets.org, is the most comprehensive resource for campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis available anywhere. The Center relies on support from a combination of foundation grants, individual contributions and custom research services. The Center accepts no contributions from businesses, labor unions or trade associations.