Lobbying firms can be helpful to government agencies, public affairs organizations, or individuals with a stake in pursuing a certain goal, usually regarding government policy or laws. Lobbying is an enormous business, and $3.24 billion was spent on lobbying in the U.S. in 2014. Many government agencies and associations invest in lobbying, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which spent $124,080,000 on lobbying in 2014, and The National Association of Realtors, which spent $55,057,053.
New Jersey lobbying firms deal with public affairs and strategic communications, including policies related to the school system, voting rights and highway infrastructures. The majority of New Jersey residents support expanded in-person voting and automatic registration, as well as supporting pre-election materials to be printed in additional languages. This is an issue that lobbyist can have a stake in and lobbying firms can help sway public opinion as well as encourage laws to be pushed through, even for something as basic as voting.
New Jersey schools have benefitted from lobbyist and the school system actually has the fourth highest reading and math scores in the country, and the second lowest dropout rate. New Jersey strategic planning includes $1.7 spent last year on paving roads and highways, a crucial effort in restoring a high quality infrastructure in the state. Storms and flooding have damaged coastal areas and strategic policy is needed to plan for similar future events.
Lobbying is on the rise for individuals, and in 2014 there were 12,353 active registered lobbyist, up from 11,162 in 2013. Lobbying firms can be argued to have too much sway over political policy because of the large amount of funding they have access to and the power that money can have to pressure the government to make certain decisions. Regardless, it is a widely used form of political maneuvering.