Since the beginning of 2009, BP has employed 49 lobbyists at a cost of $19.5 million. Of these 49 lobbyists, 35 – or 71 percent – previously held federal positions, according to a new Public Citizen analysis.

BP has dramatically increased its lobbying efforts in recent years, Public Citizen found. The firm spent $16 million lobbying in 2009, more than four times the average $3.9 million per year it spent in the first nine years of the past decade, according to the analysis of lobbying disclosure data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that a stronger democracy would have prevented the oil gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “If it weren’t for the improper influence and insider leveraging made possible by revolving door lobbyists and other exertions of BP and Big Oil’s undue political power, we would have had the laws and rules in place to prevent BP’s recklessness.”

More here, including a link to the BP lobbying and contribution data.