ESA: We're Still Spending Big Lobby Bucks!

In our last post, we noted the Entertainment Software Association has been the big dog among Washington tech trade groups since 2007 when it comes to lobbying bucks. Since the beginning of last year, the ESA has spent $2.9 million on winning friends and influence for the computer and video game industry.

But, we also added, ESA lobbying spending dropped off dramatically in the first quarter of this year. After spending $2.8 million in 2007, numbers from show the ESA with only $87,500 in Q1 spending. That projects to only $350,000 for 2008.

Did the ESA accomplish what it wanted in 2007 and see no reason to continue with its league-leading spending? Hardly, says the ESA. Just blame slow paperwork.

"The expenditure reports for the ESA on are a bit misleading because first quarter lobbying submissions were due to the Senate Office of Public Records by April 21, which falls at the start of our fiscal year," Rich Taylor, SVP of communications and research, wrote in an e-mail to OTM. "The amounts listed do not yet fully reflect the robust activity of the ESA and our work."

The ESA opposes efforts to "regulate the content of entertainment media in any form," including proposals to criminalize the sale of violent games to minors and government-imposed ratings systems.

Given lawmakers' often irrational desire to snap their fingers and make the Internet a family entertainment center, the ESA will have plenty of opportunities to continue its "robust" spending.