The Center for Public Integrity compiled its climate lobby database from lobbying disclosure reports filed with the Secretary of the Senate’s Office of Public Records. In 2008, electronic filing was mandatory for the first time, making it possible to search documents by key words. The 2008 lobbyists include all who registered to represent clients on “climate,” “global warming,” or the bill numbers and terms associated with the Climate Security Act sponsored by Senators Warner and Lieberman. Center researchers then individually pulled the 2003 disclosure records of each of the more than 770 companies and organizations that lobbied on climate in 2008, to see if they also were represented on global warming five years earlier, when the Senate voted on the bill sponsored by Senators McCain and Lieberman. Center staff also examined 2003 records of energy companies that later merged or changed names.
Each of the lobbying records was categorized to show the industry sector (manufacturing; mining and coal; agriculture) or group of interests (environmental and health) that best reflect the company or organization being represented. In the chart showing number of lobbyists by sector, lobbyists who had more than one client are counted in each sector that they represented. As a result, the totals of lobbyists in the sectors add up to a greater number than the total number of individual lobbyists.
To come up with the best estimate of spending on climate lobbying, the Center examined each disclosure record and coded it to reflect whether the lobbyist was hired for representation only on climate policy or on multiple issues. If the lobbying expense was reported only as “less than $5,000,” it was not counted. To avoid double-counting of outside lobbyist expenses, the Center took into account that organizations that employ in-house lobbyists must include the costs of outside lobbyists in their quarterly reports.
Center staff writer Matthew Lewis led the research, and David Donald, the Center’s data editor, completed the analysis.