As the government’s ownership of General Motors decreases, spending on lobbying officials has spiked. According to data from lobbying disclosure forms, GM spend almost $3.6 million in the first quarter of this year, double what it spend in back in 2009.
Last Fall the Treasury reduced its share of GM from 61 percent to under 30 percent, removing much of the ‘Government Motors’ stigma. With the feds no longer invested in the success of GM and the conflict of interest somewhat lessened, GM has redoubled its efforts to spend its way to results in Washington.
“It was inevitable that the companies were in a defensive position,” during and immediately after the bankruptcy said top GM lobbyist Bob Ferguson. “Now we’re at a point where we’re on the offensive to improve the interests of the company and the interests of the shareholders and customers.”
In particular GM is looking to change the Obama Administration’s mind on a 62-mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy Target for 2025. Also on the agenda is removing executive salary caps, which the automaker sees as a roadblock to hiring the right people. GM Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson has even traveled to Washington himself recently, arguing that as the government is no long a majority shareholder it shouldn’t be able to dictate salaries.
If GM’s lobbying spending continues as this pace it will top the $9.57 million spent in 2010.
But GM isn’t the only one, with Chrysler also upping its lobbying efforts, spending $1 million in Q1 of 2011, compared to $2.54 for all of 2010. As for Ford Motor Co., the only U.S. automaker to not receive a bailout, without the aura of government ownership hampering its efforts, the Blue Oval is on track to match last year’s spending.