Public Affairs Spending on Email Newsletter Sponsorships

There is no shortage of companies, trade associations and other groups working to influence decision making in Washington. While direct lobbying activities are generally subject to regulation and disclosure requirements, most other indirect methods for promoting a message and calling fThere is no shortage of companies, trade associations and other groups working to influence decision making in Washington. While direct lobbying activities are generally subject to regulation and disclosure requirements, most other indirect methods for promoting a message and calling for action are not – making it difficult to know the full extent of resources that organizations are investing to influence policymakers.

One of the most prominent channels for making a large public splash on a topic in Washington is sponsoring political- and policy-focused email newsletters targeted at “influencer” audiences – elected leaders and their staff, other government appointees and career officials, political operatives, business leaders, media, and more. These week-long sponsorships are frequently a major pillar of larger public affairs campaigns, providing an incomplete (but still instructive) snapshot of which organizations are making notable investments in their policy and business priorities above and beyond what is reported in their lobbying disclosures.

Rational 360 tracked the sponsors of email newsletters over the first half of 2019 from POLITICO and Axios, two of the leading Washington-based media organizations offering sponsorships. The analysis reviewed their flagship newsletters – POLITICO Playbook/Playbook Power Briefing and Axios AM/PM – as well as a selection of their other newsletters that focus on the key topics of healthcare, finance, and technology.or action are not – making it difficult to know the full extent of resources that organizations are investing to influence policymakers.

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