Lobbyists set a new record for spending in the third quarter

Huzzah! We have a new record.

Open Secrets reports
that lobbyists have dropped more money in the third quarter than during any other quarter since spending disclosures began -- $849 million to be exact. In three months.

Total for the year so far: $2.5 billion. Naturally, the health care sector is leading the year so far with $396 million.

If you've been wondering why the Republicans are insane and why too many of the Democrats are acting like, well, Republicans, this is your answer (I'm looking at you Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh).

Firstly, as we all know, lobbyists own Congress, but in terms of the big issues this year, ranging from energy to health care, the Republicans are being well-paid to flail and obstruct and generally thwart any efforts for reform.

Meanwhile, some of the Democrats who've muddied and watered-down the health care reform bill are equally as guilty of following orders from the people signing the checks, so they're stalling reform but not with the same fury as the Republicans.

Ten years ago, the health insurance providers and HMOs spent around $20 million on lobbying. This year, they're rapidly approaching $60 million. Just one of the expenses you finance with 30% of your monthly premium.

More good news on this front. The Supreme Court is deliberating the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case to determine whether a corporate-financed anti-Clinton documentary from 2008 is considered political speech. If the Court rules in favor of Citizens United, the Court will effectively give corporations free license to use money as political speech. In other words, the lobbyist scene could end up a whole lot worse than it is right now.

Here's you. You're looking for work and wondering how you're going to buy health insurance for your kids. Meanwhile, more than 13,000 lobbyists are scurrying around the Hill -- coercing your representatives to ignore you. Who wins that tug of war?

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