05/12/2011 09:43 am ET | Updated Jul 12, 2011

When The Going Gets Tough, The Lobbyists Get Going

As a resurgent GOP in Congress and statehouses around the nation has put abortion providers and public employee unions squarely in its gunsight, lobbying activity by those two groups has spiked, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of first-quarter 2011 lobbying reports.

With defunding Planned Parenthood a top priority of the House Republican leadership, abortion rights supporters doubled their spending on lobbying compared to the first quarter of the last congress, according to the center.

By contrast, lobbying spending by groups opposing abortion is significantly down. After all, things are going their way.

Moves to end the collective bargaining rights of public workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere have led public-employee unions to worry about action at the national level. That worry has come with increased spending: Public-sector unions reported 36 percent more on federal lobbying spending than during last quarter, according to the Center's research.

By contrast, the U.S Chamber of Commerce's lobbying spending in the first quarter of 2011 dropped precipitously from fourth quarter of 2010 -- although that's largely because the previous report included a big chunk of the nearly $33 million the Chamber spent on political advertising before the 2010 election. (Note that the scale of this chart is substantially different than the one for the public-sector unions).