The Sunlight Foundation has launched a tool called Foreign Influence Explorer which analyzes spending by foreign bodies or their paid representatives reported to the US Department of Justice.
The German government came second in the list spending $12 million on lobbying in 2013. Some of this was used to campaign against the closure of US military bases in the country.
The western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, for example, reported payments in 2013 of $149,956 to a lobby firm, including on “German basing issues” and “military construction funding”.
Meanwhile, the Association of German Chambers of Industry (DIHK) made payments of $1.1 million in 2013 including for “consulting and maintaining congressional contracts”.
And the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology spent $1.47 million. This included support for Invest-in-Bavaria, the investment and marketing arm of the ministry.
A German company was also the most active private foreign firm lobbying last year. Deutsche Telekom spent almost $12 million on lobbying US officials on telecom issues. The Sunlight Foundation said this included lobbying to ensure the merger of T-Mobile with MetroPCS went ahead.
Sunlight Foundation Editorial Director Bill Allison said: “Foreign Influence Explorer will drastically improve the accessibility of data that for too long has been locked inside scanned documents that can’t be easily analyzed or used, and we think this will bring a new dynamic to influence reporting.”
Top spending governments paying for influence:
1. UAE - $14.2 million
2. Germany - $12 million
3. Canada - $11.2 million
4. Saudi Arabia - $11.1 million
5. Mexico - $6.1 million
6. Morocco - $4 million
7. South Korea - $3.9 million
8. Bosnian Serb Republic - $2.4 million
9. Georgia - $2.3 million
10. Azerbaijan - $2.3 million