Archive for May, 2014

Association Lobbying: A Boon for K Street and a Tool for Associations

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 by James Cameron

FOR MANY ASSOCIATIONS, a crucial aspect of their mission is to advocate their legislative agenda before Congress. Likewise, association lobbying can be a welcome boon to firms, especially since lobbying revenue has declined in recent years. But which firms are the most influential in the association space, both in terms of clients and income? And, conversely, which associations spend the most on lobbying, and therefore are among the most influential in government relations?

Based on data from Lobbyists.info, we were able to determine the top five lobbying firms for total active association clients as well as for total association income in 2013:

  1. K&L Gates LLP: 24 association clients
  2. Ernst & Young and Patton Boggs LLP: 23 association clients
  3. Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville, PC: 22 association clients
  4. Capitol Counsel LLC and The Podesta Group: 21 association clients
  5. Hogan Lovells LLP and Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc.: 20 association clients

There are few surprises on this list for anyone familiar with the government relations industry, but how do these firms stack up in terms of total association income for 2013?

  1. Patton Boggs LLP: $6,090,000
  2. The Podesta Group: $4,430,000
  3. Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc.: $4,100,000
  4. Ernst & Young: $3,940,000
  5. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP: $3,930,000

While this list contains some of the biggest firms on K Street, it’s clear that catering to the association space can prove lucrative. It’s also evident that associations see the worth in investing considerable funds to lobby Congress effectively, but which associations (and industries) wielded the most significant monetary clout on K Street in 2013?

  1. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA): $275,781
  2. National Cable & Telecommunications Association: $211,365
  3. Edison Electric Institute: $148,962
  4. Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO): $130,845
  5. U.S. Chamber of Commerce: $128,832

These associations represent some of the biggest and most lucrative industries in America, so it’s no shock that they have the most money to spend on lobbying, but they’re not the only associations who are willing to spend significant cash to further their legislative agendas; four other associations spent six figures in 2013, and 35 others spent more than $50,000. Despite congressional gridlock and a government shutdown, associations are finding ways to make themselves heard on Capitol Hill.

195…

Monday, May 19th, 2014 by Geoffrey Lyons

…the number of times “affordable care act” has been referenced in a federal lobbying filing since 2011, according to data from Lobbyists.info.

Because The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in March, 2010, virtually all relevant lobbying activities have been attempts to either amend or repeal it.  Some of the activities are very precise (“To amend subtitle B of title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to extend the temporary high-risk insurance pool program to the territories.”).  Those that are less so are commensurately more ambitious (“To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”).

The 195 references are (predictably) dispersed unevenly.  2011 had by far the most with a grand total of 72 ACA references.  2012 and 2013 saw 57 and 58 respectively.  When broken down by quarter, Q4 and Q3 2011 take first and second place with a combined 40 references.  And 2014 isn’t the end of it.  If the midterm elections are as bad for Democrats as some expect, there should be more ACA activity to come.

Disclosure ‘Round the World

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 by Geoffrey Lyons

IT’S NOT JUST to satisfy a peculiar curiosity that one studies the minutiae of Taiwan’s lobbying disclosure.  Nor does one graph data from Canada’s Federal Lobbying Registry to pass the time.  These things are done, rather, in an effort to better understand “the impacts of technology-driven transparency policies around the world.”  It’s in the hope of learning something useful that the Sunlight Foundation, with funding from Google.org, Google’s charitable arm, is taking this initiative very seriously.

Lobbying disclosure is only one issue area in the research, but will include three case studies: Canada, Hungary, and Taiwan.  So far only an analysis of Canada’s disclosure has been published, with Hungary and Taiwan forthcoming.

The Canadian case study is staggeringly detailed: an over 5,000-word analysis is accompanied by three graphs and over four hours of interviews with experts on the country’s disclosure framework.  Whether this impressive assemblage of data will have any application in the U.S. is yet to be seen, but it would surely be a shame if it didn’t at least point us in the right direction.  The section on enforcement, for example, argues that Canada’s  Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying is a “credible threat.”  If we learned from our neighbors, perhaps the same could be said for our Department of Justice.