2013 WAS AN eventful year for K St. Two hours after the ball dropped on Times Square, the Senate averted dropping the ball on the country by passing a fiscal cliff compromise. Yet the deal only kicked the proverbial can and did nothing to alleviate the preceding months’ political paralysis, which lobbyists blamed for their abysmal first quarter expenditures.
Throughout the year, different lobbies got more aggressive when the time was ripe: pro- and anti-gun lobbies in the wake of Sandy Hook, for example, and pro- and anti-marijuana lobbies in response to shifting public opinion on pot. Even animal welfare groups came out of the woodwork when a bill was on the table to crack down on the breeding of big cats.
Popular tech companies continued their K St. colonization. Twitter hired a lobbyist in August; Yelp in October. (In fact, I write this barely a week after Snapchat snagged their own lobbyists from Heather Podesta). The Yelp hire was announced ten days into the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history, which predictably exasperated lobbyists.
Finally, some lobbyists were punished for their negligence. Biassi Business Services Inc. was fined $33 million for failing to submit 124 compliance forms, and two men in Chicago were prosecuted for lobbying on behalf of Robert Mugabe.
Much is left out of this Cliff Notes version of the year in review. To help fill some of the gaps, here’s 2013 in 12 LobbyBlog posts:
January – GW Professor David Rehr kicks off the New Year with some advice to lobbyists.
February – A graduate student at the University of Michigan argues against the idea that lobbying is inherently unethical.
March – Amy Showalter on “The One Thing You Aren’t (But Should Be) Thinking About When Hiring a Lobbyist.”
April – A disastrous first quarter has everyone talking.
May – A lobby battle kindles over cats.
June – In vino controversy: The first wine consumer advocacy group launches.
July – The world’s richest man leads an unpopular lobbying campaign.
August – Whoops: Chicago men caught lobbying for Robert Mugabe.
September – POLITICO: “Can we see your lobbying records?” CIA: “Absolutely not.”
October – So there’s no government. Did K St. shut down too?
November – Who’s the best lobbyist? LobbyBlog interviews The Hill.
December – Roses are red, red tape is too: House Ethics dabbles in poetry.