Lobbying Up a Storm

Following Hurricane Katrina, corporate lobbying of Congress dramatically increased, even on issues that "have little to do with hurricane relief," reports the Wall Street Journal. "Major U.S. airlines are asking Congress to suspend federal jet-fuel taxes. Oil and gas companies want drilling rights in new parts of the Gulf Coast." The energy industry is also "pushing to permit oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." In more hurricane-related lobbying, "Insurance companies want the ability to use tax-free funds to create a multibillion-dollar industry fund to cover future claims from natural disasters. Shipbuilders such as Northrop Grumman Corp. want billions of dollars to help rebuild shipyards in Mississippi. Even small chicken farmers are asking Congress for low-interest loans to fix or replace hundreds of damaged or destroyed chicken coops in Mississippi."