Archive for January, 2017

2016 LDA Table

Friday, January 27th, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

The 2016 year-end and fourth quarter LDA results are in. Many of the top firms saw decreased Q4 revenue when compared to the same period in 2015. However, much of this decrease in revenue can be attributed to the focus on the election.  Politico has ranked the top firms below. The figures were verified with the firms, except those marked with an asterisk, which were estimated based on Senate filings:

  1. Akin Gump: $36.17M in 2016 vs. $39.38M in 2015 ($8.36M in 4Q16 vs. $9.82M in 4Q15)
  2. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck: $25.6M in 2016 vs. $25.7M in 2015 ($5.73M in 4Q16 vs. $7.4M in 4Q15)
  3. Podesta Group: $24.05M in 2016 vs. $23.17M in 2015 ($6.07M in 4Q16 vs. $5.87M in 4Q15)
  4. Van Scoyoc Associates: $23.12M in 2016 vs. $23.63M in 2015
  5. Holland & Knight: $19.67M in 2016 vs. $19.85M in 2015 ($4.86M in 4Q16 vs. $5.05M in 4Q15)
  6. Squire Patton Boggs: $18.9m in 2016 vs. $25.03M in 2015 ($5.09M in 4Q16 vs. $5.46M in 4Q15)
  7. BGR Government Affairs: $17.45M in 2016 vs. $17.76M ($4.48M in 4Q16 vs. $4.42M in 4Q15)
  8. Cornerstone Government Affairs: $16.79M in 2016 vs. $15.31M in 2015 ($4.37M in 4Q16 vs. $15.31M in 4Q15)
  9. Capitol Counsel: $16.24M in 2016 vs. $17.17M in 2015 ($4M in 4Q16 vs. $4.22M in 4Q15)
  10. K&L Gates: $15.98M in 2016 vs. $18.05M in 2015 ($3.5M in 4Q16 vs. $4.38M in 4Q15)
  11. Williams & Jensen: $15.74M in 2016 vs. $16,97M in 2015*
  12. Peck Madigan Jones: $13.3M in 2016 vs. $13.35M in 2015 ($3.3M in 4Q16)*
  13. Cassidy and Associates: $13.18M in 2016 vs. $12.85M in 2015 ($3.57M in 4Q16 vs. $3.1M in 4Q15)
  14. Fierce Government Relations: $12.88M in 2016 vs. $12.95M in 2015 ($3.11M in 4Q16 vs. $3.3M in 4Q15)
  15. Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas: $12.86M in 2016 vs. $11.68M in 2015 ($3.26M in 4Q16 vs. $2.99M in 4Q15)
  16. Washington Council EY: $12.6M in 2016 vs. $13.54M in 2015*
  17. Covington & Burling: $12.62M in 2016 vs. $12.38M in 2015 ($3.04M in 4Q16 vs. $3.19M in 4Q15)
  18. Capitol Tax Partners: $12.18M in 2016 vs. $13.11M in 2015*
  19. Alpine Group: $11.38 in 2016 vs. $12.15M in 2015 ($2.86M in 4Q16)*
  20. Ogilvy Government Relations: $10.49M in 2016 vs. $10.07M in 2015 ($2.63M in 4Q16)

Lobbying Activity Under Scrutiny in Sec. of State Confirmation Hearing

Thursday, January 12th, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

This week the Senate has been busy with the confirmation hearings for President-Elect Trump’s cabinet nominations. On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s confirmation hearing of Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson became heated over ExxonMobil’s lobbying activities connected to sanctions on Russia while Mr. Tillerson was the CEO.

Responding to a question from Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) Mr. Tillerson denied opposing sanctions on Russia saying, “I have never lobbied against sanctions. …To my knowledge, Exxon never directly lobbied against sanctions,” reports The Hill. This resulted in Senator Menendez pulling “out printed pages of lobbying disclosure reports filed by Exxon going back to at least 2009, listing legislation that would further impose sanctions on Russia. One form described a lobbying topic as “Russian Aggression Prevention Act, provisions related to energy.” CNN reports that Sen. Menendez continued saying, “I know you weren’t lobbying for the sanctions.” In fact, he said: “Exxon became the in-house lobbyist for Russia against these sanctions.”

Politico Influence reports that “Exxon, for its part, chimed in on Twitter, “Let’s be clear: We engage with lawmakers to discuss sanction impacts, not whether or not sanctions should be imposed.” Let’s be clear: That is akin to saying you’re “educating” instead of “lobbying.” Exxon was raising concerns about how sanctions would impact them, such as inconsistencies between the rules in the United States and in Europe. The staffers on the receiving end understood this to be lobbying against the proposals as written.”

Throughout the hearing Mr. Tillerson’s connection to Russia has been under scrutiny. As CEO of ExxonMobil, Mr. Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on several occasions and was awarded the “Russian Order of Friendship” in 2012, according to Politico.

GOP’s Ethics Blunder on Day 1

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 by Matthew Barnes

On Monday, during a closed-door meeting the House Republican Conference voted to adopt an amendment to the proposed House rules package, which was set to be voted on Tuesday. The amendment put forward by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) would move the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) watchdog under the oversight of lawmakers through the House Ethics Committee.

The OCE is an independent, non-partisan entity charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct against Members, officers, and staffers of the United States House of Representatives. The office was first created in 2008 under then Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. According to Politico, “Congress had created the office in the wake of Jack Abramoff scandal, which included the GOP lobbyist’s admission that he tried to bribe lawmakers. At the time, lawmakers hoped to stop anything like that from ever happening again.”

By Tuesday however, there was widespread outcry from both democrats on the Hill and outside groups about Chairman Goodlatte’s amendment.  In a statement House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions.  Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress. The Office of Congressional Ethics is essential to an effective ethics process in the House, providing a vital element of transparency and accountability to the ethics process.  The amendment Republicans approved tonight would functionally destroy this office. Congress must hold itself to the highest standards of conduct.  Instead, the House Republicans Conference has acted to weaken ethics and silence would-be whistleblowers.” Similarly, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a statement saying, “Undermining the independence of the House’s Office of Congressional Ethics would create a serious risk to members of Congress, who rely on OCE for fair, nonpartisan investigations, and to the American people, who expect their representatives to meet their legal and ethical obligations…If the 115th Congress begins with rules amendments undermining OCE, it is setting itself up to be dogged by scandals and ethics issues for years and is returning the House to dark days when ethics violations were rampant and far too often tolerated.”

By Tuesday afternoon House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was forced to call an emergency House Republican Conference to reverse the decision on the amendment. However, Politico reports that “McCarthy’s motion to restore the current OCE setup was adopted by unanimous consent after Trump himself got involved” tweeting “With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it ……..may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS.”

Minority Leader Pelosi released another statement following the House Republican Conference’s removal of Chairman Goodlatte’s amendment saying, “House Republicans showed their true colors last night, and reversing their plans to destroy the Office of Congressional Ethics will not obscure their clear contempt for ethics in the People’s House.  Once again, the American people have seen the toxic dysfunction of a Republican House that will do anything to further their special interest agenda, thwart transparency and undermine the public trust.”

Some Republican members praised President-Elect Donald Trump’s involvement in the issue. According to The Hill, “Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said late Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump “deserves a lot of credit” for House Republicans ditching a plan to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). “I think he deserves a lot of the credit. Look, I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do,” Cole told CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront.

Following the Republican’s decision to remove the amendment from the House rules package (H.R. 5), the House of Representatives, approved the rules of the 115th Congress in a vote by the Yeas and Nays: 234 – 193.

Much of President-Elect Trump’s electoral campaign focused on “draining the swamp” and cleaning up Washington through ethics reforms, particularly around lobbying. During the election President-Elect Trump’s campaign released a plan for a lobbying reform package and implemented strict rules about lobbyists serving during the transition and in President-Elect Trump’s administration. Lobby Blog will continue to monitor ethics regulation changes under the 115th Congress and Trump Administration.