Nonprofit lobbying fell with economy

Lobbying by nonprofits fell slightly with the economic downturn that began in September 2008, a new study says.

Total spending by 80 big nonprofits that reported lobbying activity in Washington this year in the fields of human services, arts and culture, health and the environmental, total spending fell 3.3 percent from 2007 to 2011, says the study by First Street.

Annual spending during period peaked in 2008, with many groups spending most of their lobbying budget before the economy collapsed.

Spending on lobbying grew at 35 of the groups, or 45 percent, and fell at 38 groups, or 48 percent.

The study excluded “lobby powerhouse” AARP because “its spending is so high that its year-to-year shifts can obscure underlying patterns,” First Street says, as well as nonprofits that were political advocates, religious organizations, trade groups, professional associations, colleges and health systems.

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