Skip to comments.K Street keeps growing
Posted on 02/14/2006 8:03:28 PM PST by Marius3188
Lobbyists had a banner 2005, the year before simmering controversies involving Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Randy Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) boiled over outside the Beltway and brought new pressures on Capitol Hill to keep lobbyists at arms length.
Early returns on end-of-year revenues show strong growth all along Washingtons lobbying corridor.
Several well-known firms reported a revenue jump greater than 20 percent, including Barbour Griffith & Rogers, Quinn Gillespie & Associates, the Federalist Group and the Livingston Group, as a series of policy and legislative efforts brought new business to K Street, from Social Security reform to a national energy plan to the budget bill.
Reigning number one, Patton Boggs, reported an even better 2005. It made $37 million last year, up from roughly $31 million it took in in 2004.
Cassidy & Associates, which ended 2004 number two, reported more modest growth. It had revenues of $28.34 million in 2005, up from $27 million in 2004. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, number three, reported revenues of $28.58 for the year, up from its $27.6 million in 2004.
With Congress eyeing new curbs on earmarks and congressional travel in response to scandals, 2005 could wind up being a high-water mark for the lobbying industry.
But lobbyists said that so far their business hasnt suffered under the intense spotlight, as both retainers and client lists are continuing to grow.
James Chapman, co-chairman of the government-relations practice at Bracewell & Giuliani, a Texas-based firm that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined in 2004, said the firm has been busier than ever in a range of policy areas. He said he didnt see much potential for a lag, despite the push for lobbying reform.
The firm reported sharp growth on revenues of $9 million, up from around $6 million in 2004, Chapman, a former Democratic congressman from Texas, told The Hill.
Firms were required to file end-of-year revenue figures, commonly called LDAs for the Lobbying Disclosure Act that established reporting requirements, by midnight.
A complete list of the top firms totals for the year was not available by press time. Several of the largest were still compiling their registrations at 5 p.m.
Figures for Van Scoyoc Associates, Dutko Worldwide, Williams & Jensen, DLA Piper Rudnick were unavailable. For big firms, lobbying reports often run hundreds of pages long, and several lobbyists reported taking extra care in light of recent scandals to ensure that their figures were accurate. A few lobbyists reported difficulties in operating the Houses electronic-filing system.
Others firms said corporate counsels advised against reporting lobbying revenues in the quiet period before the release of financial information. But those that did provide their figures to The Hill reported higher, sometimes much higher, returns.
Barbour, Griffith & Rogerss business grew 32 percent in 2005 from 2004. The perennial top-10 firm reported revenues of $19 million, verses the $14.39 million it brought in the year before.
Loren Monroe, chief operating officer, said the firm saw its biggest growth in its financial-services practice, with additional work for FM Policy Focus, a banking group, and on postal reform for the Financial Services Roundtable.
But Monroe attributed the overall growth to the diversity of the firms portfolio. It operates four practices in addition to financial services: appropriations, international, healthcare and telecommunications.
Quinn Gillespie also saw a substantial boost in its lobbying revenues coinciding with the return of its eponymous partner Ed Gillespie from the Republican National Committee. The company earned $15.3 million from lobbying last year, which was $3.3 million more than the prior year. PMA Group continues to grow. It reported revenues of $15.1 million, up from $13.1 million.
And the Federalist Group, which until recently was all-Republican (it now has one Democratic lobbyist), continued to benefit from its contacts among Capitol Hills leaders. Its revenues were $13.8 million, versus $12.1 million it collected in 2004. Holland & Knight also enjoyed healthy growth. The firm earned $13.2 million in 2005, an increase of $3.4 million over 2004.
Richard Gold, a partner at the firm, attributed the increase to contracts related to the budget-reconciliation bill. Holland & Knight lobbied on provisions related to natural-gas interests and the repeal of the so-called Byrd trade amendment. Budget and appropriations are mainstays for the firm, he said.
PodestaMattoon reported revenues of $12.34 million, up from $11.4 million in 2004.
Washington Council Ernst & Young was one firm that saw revenues dip, hurt by the absence of a major tax bill. It estimated its end-of-year total to be $11.7 million, down from $12.7 million.
But the Livingston Group, founded by former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston (R-La.), is another firm on the rise. It earned $10.9 million in 2005, a nearly $2 million increase over 2004.
Other totals: Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas made $10.8 million, up from $8.1 million; the Carmen Group made $10.5 million in 2005, up from $9.6 million; Alcalde & Fay brought in $10.1 million, versus the $8.8 million it made in 2004; and Clark & Weinstock reported revenues of $9.28 million, up from $9 million.
End-of-year numbers add to the strong start lobbyists made in 2005. PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks lobbying spending, reported this week that companies and other special interests spent $1.16 billion to lobby Congress and federal agencies during the first part of last year. That represented a growth rate of 8 percent and a new six-month record for lobbying spending.
The figures in this story were provided by the firms themselves.
Roughly half of firms that fell in the top 25 a year ago reported rising revenues in 2005. Others looked poised to break into the upper echelon. Blank Rome Government Relations, for example, is positioned to move up. The firm, which merged with Peyser Associates last year, saw growth of greater than 50 percent. It will report an end-of-year total of $9.8 million, versus the $6.1 million it brought in a year ago.
The Ferguson Group, which specializes in representing cities, counties and other public entities, continued its upward course.
The firms 2005 revenues were $9.24 million, up from just over $7 million. That is a growth rate of nearly 24 percent.
Despite recent controversies, Roger Gwinn, president of Fergusons executive committee, said business has kept pace early in 2006.
But while the firm has continued to add clients at the same clip so far in 2006, there was one troubling instance: a client the firm had expected to sign backed out, concerned that the payoff may not be as big now that Congress is taking a hard look at the growth of earmarks.
"Is there a lobby for less lobbyists?"
I'll lobby for that but unfortunately I'll have to hire Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas. I don't think my budget can take it.
All I can afford is $200 which does't even cover the cost of donuts and coffee.
Don't even mention lunch.
I guess I'm pretty much scewed.