But K Street is raking it in.
Washington’s influence industry is on track to shatter last year’s record $3.3 billion spent to lobby Congress and the rest of the federal government — and that’s with a down economy and about 1,500 fewer registered lobbyists in town, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Many lobbying firms have escaped the worst of the corporate belt-tightening, thanks, in large part, to the ambitious agenda set out by President Barack Obama — who, ironically, came to Washington with a pledge to break what he considered the undue influence of special-interest lobbyists.
lenty of sectors have scaled back their K Street spending, including traditional big spenders like real estate and telecommunications. But Obama’s push for legislation on health reform, financial reform and climate change has compensated for the grim economic times.
And that’s after Obama kicked off the year with a massive economic stimulus package — and every major business sector tried to get a piece of the action.
“Lobbyists love it ... when you’ve got an activist agenda like this, and you’ve got serious problems like this, and people want to do something about it,” said James Thurber, director of American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies.
“It is the most active time that I have ever seen in the advocacy business — from 1973 on,” Thurber added.
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