Thursday, January 21, 2010

Despite Campaign Promises To The Contrary, Obama Stimulates The Hell Out Of Lobbying Industry

As America struggles economically, it was a heck of a good year for political lobbyists.

K Street’s top 25 firms cashed in on the aggressive legislative agenda unleashed by the new president and bigger Democratic majorities in Congress in 2009 to post double-digit growth of about 10 percent over the previous year.

Despite economic uncertainty and the promise by the Obama administration to clamp down on the influence industry, the majority of top lobbying firms posted higher numbers in 2009, with 11 firms showing dramatic growth. …

While most old-line firms posted limited to flat growth, several midsized lobby shops, as well as a handful of relatively younger lobby shops, posted dramatic increases in revenue.

The Podesta Group, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Holland & Knight and Alston & Bird all reported more than 40 percent increases in billings. K&L Gates, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti and McBee Strategic Consulting posted gains of more than 20 percent in 2009.

With several big-ticket legislative items moving through Congress, in particular financial services regulatory reform, lobbyists said they expect more of the same this year.

Remember when Obama campaigned on refusing to take money from lobbyists? When he refused to have lobbyists in his administration? When he ordered his own party to refrain from taking lobbyist contributions?

Obama’s was supposed to be an administration “not run by special interests.” Yet, lobbyists are thriving in Obama’s America.

By the way, if one of the lobbying firms in the article above sounds familiar, it’s because Obama appointed the founder of the firm to run his transition team:

John Podesta was Bill Clinton’s last chief of staff, and he also ran the Obama transition team after the election. Obama wanted to eliminate lobbying so badly that he put one of K Street’s top lobbying firm in charge of setting up his White House team — and John’s group prospered handsomely from it, apparently.

Hope for change.