Fun Facts: What Lobbyists Have Tried to Get

Danielle Bliss
 | Oct 12, 2018
A photo from Kings

Kate (Jules Willcox) and Sydney (Tracey A. Leigh) hatch a plan in ​Kings.

In Sarah Burgess’s incisive comedy, Kings, Sydney Millsap wins a seat in Congress and she’s determined to drain the swamp. Then she meets Kate, a whip-smart lobbyist who gets her clients whatever they want. Kate and Sydney then work together in hopes of unseating a powerful senator steeped in cronyism. Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence actions, policies or decisions of officials in their daily life. Lobbying is done by many types of people, associations or organized groups. Read on for some fun facts about past lobbyists—some more unbelievable than others.

The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers
This North Carolina-based nonprofit fights for the conservation and care of reptiles. This group (they call themselves “Reptile Nation”) spent $20,000 in 2012 for lobbying for “miscellaneous issues" (we will make a strong guess that these were reptile-related issues).

Cigar Rights of America
This enthusiastic group of cigar fanatics claim that the “age-old pleasure of enjoying a cigar is under attack” by an “overzealous, anti-smoking movement.” The Cigar Rights of America has recently voiced its opposition to the proposed regulation of high-end cigars by the Food and Drug Administration. This group is also fighting against general government regulations of cigars as well as taxation of cigars and various bans on smoking. The group spent $320,000 on lobbying in 2012.

California Cling Peach Growers
Based in California, this group “represents hundreds of family growers” as well as works to prevent receiving imports from China. This group spent $110,000 last year to ensure people “buy American” when purchasing cling peaches—a peach known for having a flesh that sticks to the pit.

The Balloon Council
The Balloon Council fought for what they called a “very real problem”—the shortage of helium. This group sought help from the Helium Stewardship Act, a legislation that lays out how to maintain a helium reserve for the future. This council spent $60,000 on its lobbying efforts in 2012.

Manned Space Flight Education Foundation
This group is responsible for the Houston Space Center—where the public can delve into space flight knowledge as deep as possible without actually leaving the Earth. Some of the exhibits here include “Angry Space Birds” as well as a film that allows patrons to join the Mars Curiosity rover on our neighboring planet. This group spent $30,000 lobbying for space education last year.

Catfish Farmers of America
This trade association was founded in the 1960s and has had a busy few years promoting the catfish after a headstrong debate brought on in Congress over the necessity of catfish inspections. This group spent over $170,000 last year and more than $300,000 in 2012.

California Dried Plum Board
Prunes, right? Yes—but in 2000, the then-California Prune Board successfully lobbied the Food and Drug Administration to let it use the more female-friendly (really, that’s what it said) “dried plum.”

One-Man UFO Lobby
One person can be all it takes to lobby. There is only one registered lobbyist in the U.S. on UFO and extraterrestrial issues, The lobbyist is convinced that the government has this information and it’s only a matter of time before an announcement will come to the American people that “we’re not alone.”

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