General Electric (NYSE: GE) Spent $7 Million in First-Quarter Lobbying

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) spent $7.14 million during the first quarter lobbying the federal government issues ranging from health care reform to defense spending.

The company, which operates businesses in another of sectors including health care, defense and finance, spent more than $4.54 it spent during the first quarter of 2009 and more than the $6.8 million it spent during the first quarter of 2009.

The increase in spending is likely the result of several major pieces of legislation and spending proposals which were being debated in Congress which effects G.E.’s operations. The company lobbied Congress and the Obama administration on several aspects of the health care reform legislation which was passed in March. G.E. has a major business unit which produces medical imaging equipment and electronic medical record software.

G.E. also lobbied the federal government about new consumer protections and financial reform. G.E. Capital, the finance and lending arm of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), produces a wide range of financial products, from credit cards to commercial mortgages.

The conglomerate also lobbied on defense spending. General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has been trying to preserve Pentagon spending on a second engine for the F-35 fighter jet program, one of which is made by General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and the other which is made by Rolls Royce. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been trying to end the second engine program, and said that he would urge President Obama to veto any defense spending bill if it included money for the project.