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Many of the nation's largest financial institutions lowered their spending on lobbying the federal government in 2012, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Although data is only available through Dec. 4, 2012, the reports suggest that year-end spending will be down significantly from 2011. That trend may reflect lower expectations for major legislative changes during a presidential election year.

The data include lobbying of Congress as well as federal agencies. They do not include state-level lobbying or contributions to third-party organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

(Image: Bloomberg News)