Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ranking lobbyists? Who's the best at “finding, grinding, and minding?”

Internet posts with rankings are good for getting hits. IPBiz ran across this 2007 article from the Washington Post on ranking lobbyists. There's some interesting text within.

Of lawyers, lobbying, and advertising:

Legal Times recently listed 50 firms with revenues of more than $7 million a year. The highest-grossing of the 50, the law firm Akin Gump, reported $76 million in lobbying fees last year.

Law firms, owned by their partners, are quite competitive. But in recent years private lobby shops, operating outside the strictures of bar-association codes, have proliferated. A little secret of Washington lobbying is that three large international advertising companies own most of the powerful lobby companies. They are Omnicom, based in New York, and two London corporations, WPP and Interpublic Group.

Of the British connection:

I asked another lobbyist how people would feel if a Chinese company rather than a British one owned five of the most influential lobbying firms in America with many former members of Congress on the payroll.

“I never thought of it that way,” he replied. “I guess that might be a problem.”

Lobbyists were and are, very much involved in the patent reform debate. Recall fund-raising done on behalf of Patrick Leahy, and note text in the article:

The most successful lobbyists do more than represent their clients’ interests. They also raise money from clients for the politicians whose favors they seek. And some of their millions of dollars in fees goes to the wining and dining of legislators, though much of the ostensible graft has been taken out of the system with restrictions on free meals, game tickets, and the like.

Recall the fate of Tom Daschle as Obama's cabinet nominee for HHS? There was even more:

Linda Daschle, Baker Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. A lifelong airplane enthusiast who began working for the Federal Aviation Administration in her twenties, Daschle now brings in more than $1 million a year from clients such as American Airlines, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.

When her husband, former Democratic Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, was in power, eyebrows often were raised about Linda Daschle’s success. But with her husband no longer in office, she has been more successful than ever, in part because she has dropped her self-imposed curb on lobbying the Senate. She has expanded her lobbying niche from air to rails, working for Norfolk Southern on rail-security legislation. She’s also working hard on behalf of American Airlines on FAA reauthorization—legislation that will set goals and priorities for air travel into the next decade.

Senators did not make out well:

Former US senators tend not to have great reputations as lobbyists. Some say they lack the organizational skills to put together a complex lobbying plan; others think they’re just uncomfortable bowing before their colleagues.

The overinclusive stereotype (Dole, Mitchell had done well) evokes the joke:

Heaven is Where:
The Police are British,
The Chefs are Italian,
The Mechanics are German,
The Lovers are French
It's all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is Where:
The Police are German,
The Chefs are British,
The Mechanics are French,
The Lovers are Swiss
It's all organized by the Italians.


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