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21 Aug, 2009 16:43

U.S. lobbyists scrutinized

Defense lobbyists in the U.S. have spent $750,000 honoring Obama's defense staff in the first six months of this year.

Big weapons makers like Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems spent over $150,000 each, mostly paying for charity events where the military's top brass were present.

Another focus for lobbyists has been on foreign policy, since the U.S. spends substantial amounts to shape global international politics. It is in Washington that the amount of aid to countries is decided and the gravity of crimes against humanity is defined.

Foreign policy-related lobbying is being tracked by the Sunlight Foundation, which is making its research available to the public online.

“It’s amazing how much lobbyists really do have an impact on public policy,” Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, told RT. “You can follow lobbying campaigns online and see policies changing.”