Most lobbying firms are not in a hurry to pad politicians' political coffers early this election cycle, with only a few either raising or spending significant cash, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records indicates.
And that's for the lobby shops that have PACs: More than half of the nation's top 40 firms, ranked by 2012 lobbying income, do not sponsor one at all, the analysis shows. While this doesn't represent a major shift from the lobbying world status quo, the trend stands in stark contrast to the actions of other industries' largest corporations, which generally sponsor PACs as a means to support and interact with politicians and candidates.
Among the PAC-less government affairs powerhouses are Podesta Group; Ogilvy Government Relations; Peck, Madigan & Jones; Prime Policy Group and Dutko Worldwide.
For top lobbying firms that do sponsor PACs, only four — Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld; K&L Gates; Ernst & Young and DLA Piper — have reported spending more than $100,000 during the year's first four months, mostly on donations to political candidates and committees. This figure could rise slightly in July, as eight of the nation's top 40 PACs have chosen to report their finances semiannually this year.
DLA Piper's PAC, on balance, is the nation's most active among firm-sponsored committees, raising about $198,500 and spending more than $196,300 between Jan. 1 and April 30.
That's still a pittance compared to what is typically the most active corporate PAC overall — Honeywell's PAC, which has raised almost $1.3 million and spent more than $951,000 for the same period.
All the same, DLA Piper's PAC has spread the cash it is spending far and wide, federal records show.