Ken Leighton 7 p.m., Oct. 26
City of San Diego Lobbies Congress On Debt, Hotel Taxes
An analysis by Washington's non-profit Center for Responsive Politics has found that more than 400 special interests, including corporations, labor unions, and non-profits, have been lobbying the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction--otherwise known as Congress's debt supercommittee.
On the list are two organizations with local ties: Qualcomm Inc. and the City of San Diego.
According to disclosure reports, the city also lobbied Congress about legislation that could affect its collection of hotel occupancy taxes, a key to mayor Jerry Sanders's controversial plan to expand the downtown convention center.
Among the legislative items listed on the City of San Diego's latest lobbying report, filed October 20, are, "Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) and deficit reduction efforts regarding impact to local government interests," as well as, "Legislative proposals impacting collection of local hotel occupancy taxes."
Roughly 30 percent of organizations in the supercommittee lobbying fray--118 in all, according to the study--were linked to the health sector, likely a target for big budget cuts by the committee.
Other major players included the real estate and finance industries, as well as groups such as the National Council of La Raza.
San Diego was among just 11 cities on the roster of supercommitte special pleaders, according to the center's OpenSecrets blog.
Through the third quarter of this year, the city has paid the big lobbying firm of Patton, Boggs a total of $150,000, according to the center.
Others municipalities weighing in with the supercommittee included Jacksonville, Florida; Meridian, Miss.; Minneapolis, Minn; New Orleans, LA; and Richmond, Va.
According to the study, "The exact number of organizations lobbying the supercommittee could be even higher as disclosure forms paint only a broad picture of lobbying activities.
"Groups are required, for instance, to disclose on their quarterly LD-2 that they targeted the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and to say that they lobbied on a broad issue such as 'finance,' 'taxes' or 'banking.'
"But they do not have to specify which members of Congress, or whose staffers, with whom they met."
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