Lobbying Industry Struggles in Today's Economy

Friday, 21 Oct 2011 02:28 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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The lobbying sector has its financial ups and downs, just like other industries in the economy. And now appears to be a down period.

An analysis of third-quarter data by The Hill shows that revenue dropped for six of 10 major firms during the first nine months of the year compared to the same period a year ago.

Cassidy & Associates saw its revenue plummet 18 percent to $15.3 million in the first three quarters of 2011 from $18.7 million a year earlier. Holland & Knight reported a 12 percent drop, to $14.2 million from $16.1 million.

Last year’s figures were boosted by two pieces of legislation — healthcare reform and financial regulation reform. Now that those bills have turned into law, lobbyists have lost a source of revenue.

In addition, Congress has focused almost exclusively on the protracted battles over the budget and debt ceiling this year. That has left congressmen with little time to devote to other issues, meaning less business opportunities for lobbyists.

The fact that the House under Republican control is more receptive to the concerns of business also has helped depress lobbying work, as businesses don’t feel a need for lobbyists to defend their interests in the House, says Rob Smith, co-chairman of Venable’s legislative practice group. His firm suffered a 13 percent drop in revenue in the first three quarters of the year.

“House Republicans are listening to industry and are helping to push their priorities,” Smith told The Hill. “Part of the Republican jobs plan is to roll back or block some environmental measures that hurt the private sector, so industry may not feel they need much outside help right now.”

Not all firms are suffering a slowdown. Covington & Burling reported an 11 percent increase in lobbying revenue during the first nine months of the year.

“We're not a firm that really handles appropriations matters. I know a number of firms who specialize in that have suffered from the antipathy from earmarks,” Rod DeArment, a partner at Covington & Burling, told The Hill.




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