Draining the swamp? D.C. lobbying during Trump era surges to highest level in 7 years

Lobbying activity in Washington surged to $3.34 billion last year — its highest level since 2010 — as corporations, trade groups and other interests scrambled to make their mark on everything from fast-moving tax legislation to immigration policy during President Trump’s first year in office.

The new tally from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows powerful and long-standing trade groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Realtors, spending the most money to shape policy in 2017.

“Lobbyists appear not to have gotten the memo about draining the swamp,” said Sheila Krumholz, the center’s executive director, referring to Trump’s often-repeated campaign pledge to clean up Washington and rein in lobbyists.

The center’s tally also shows that lobbying by individual companies hit new levels.

Google’s federal spending jumped to $18 million last year, a new high in the tech giant’s lobbying history in Washington. Tech companies are facing increasing scrutiny as lawmakers consider regulating online advertising. Congress is investigating Russia’s use of social media platforms to influence the 2016 presidential election.