Lobbying spending reached $3.4 billion last year, the most since the all-time peak eight years ago, according to calculations out Monday from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was the top spender for the 19th consecutive year, spending $95 million to promote its pro-business agenda – including $26 million in the final three months of 2018, mainly to advocate against President Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. The National Association of Realtors was second, at $73 million.
But the industry that spent the most, by far, was the pharmaceutical sector at $280 million – hoping to shape public opinion and the work of Congress as the rapid rise in drug prices moves the center of the health care policy agenda. The industry's trade association, known as PhRMA, spent 10 percent of that total. The company that spent the most were Pfizer ($11 million), Johnson & Johnson ($7 million) and AbbVie ($6 million).