“Forget lobbying. When Washington, D.C.’s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations,” according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation that appeared in Time.

The rest of this post is from the Center for Public Integrity investigation, and we have provided a link to the full story in Time.

“It’s been well-publicized how much industry spends on lobbying the government, but not so much is known about how much money goes toward influencing the public. In an effort to find out more, Center for Public Integrity reporters examined the tax returns for trade associations that spent more than $1 million on lobbying in 2012. The IRS requires the groups to report their top five contractors.

“Of $3.4 billion in contracts reported by the 144 trade groups from 2008 through 2012, more than $1.2 billion, or 37 percent, went toward advertising, public relations and marketing services, more than any other category. The second-highest total, $682.2 million, or 20 percent of the total, was directed toward legal, lobbying and government affairs.

“By industry sector, the biggest clients of PR, marketing and ad services were energy and natural resources associations.

“The public relations industry is on a growth tear while the number of federally registered lobbyists is actually shrinking.”

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