Merry Christmas 2011
Rick Perry's presidential campaign costing Texas taxpayers millions

What you'll pay for 12 Days of Political Influence on Capitol Hill

The 12 Days of Christmas are used as hooks during the countdown to Dec. 25. I'm guilty, last year doing a 12 Tax Tips of Christmas series.

But the 12 days in the song actually begin on Christmas Day and represent the dozen days between the birth of Christ and the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem, which is then celebrated on Jan. 6 as the Feast of the Epiphany.

Since today is the beginning of the 12 days and we have reason to celebrate since Congress sort of wrapped up its 2011 business, including a two-month extension of the 4.2 percent payroll tax rate, it's a perfect time to look at what the 12 Days of Lobbying cost.

Groups representing each of those presents, from pear trees to various types of poultry to musicians and performers to farm workers and mining interests, regularly lobby lawmakers for legislative favors.

The Center for Responsive Politics calculated the cost of 12 days of political influence for those various sectors and arrived at this week's By the Numbers figure: $156,510.

12 days of christmas lobbyists costs

To be honest, that sounds like a pretty good bargain to me.

OpenSecrets.org crunched the numbers thusly:

The California Pear Growers reported $10,000 in lobbying expenditures during the first three quarters of 2010, for $37 a day. Not too bad. To be true to the song, though, you'll need the pear growers' group every day for 12 days. And 12 days at $37 a day equals $440.

By that same logic, hiring the American Symphony Orchestra League for a dozen of their drummers will cost a one-time fee of $183.

For some nobility with a mean jump shot, try the lords of the National Basketball Association. You'll need their services for three days, and at $256 per day, you'll be out a total of $769.

And your wallet will take the biggest hit getting your hands on the gold for those five rings. The National Mining Association invested about $3.6 million in lobbying between January and September. Since you'll need its help for eight days at $13,115 per day, that'll be $104,916.

Here's the group's complete cost breakout for the 12 Days of Lobbying:

12 days of lobbying costs OpenSecrets table 2011

The lobbying groups' total costs for their services between January and September are more along the lines of what I remember from my days in D.C.

These associations, trade groups and professional organizations with 12 Days of Christmas connections spent almost $5.8 million to try to convince House and Senate members to agree with their industries' outlooks.

With 2012 being an election year, we can probably expect next year's 12 days to cost a little more.

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