AIPAC expanding lobbying efforts

washington (jta) | The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is undergoing major restructuring in the wake of recent growth.

The premier pro-Israel lobby is simultaneously expanding its lobbying efforts in Washington, the number of issues it addresses and its outreach to Jewish communities across the United States, according to three sources familiar with the expansion.

The changes have been in the works since 2003, all the sources said, and predate an FBI raid last year that roiled the organization and led to charges against two former AIPAC staffers accused of passing classified information.

AIPAC has expanded its top management team, hired a number of new regional directors and added lobbyists. No one would give specific numbers.

The expansion is in line with the organization’s recent membership drives through synagogues and on college campuses. AIPAC officials say the average regional event has ballooned from 200-300 people a few years ago to about 1,000 nowadays.

AIPAC also has added a number of issues to its lobbying agenda, including homeland security, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Its venture into homeland security is a first dip into domestic issues for the organization, which has made foreign policy its strength.