A new report by the Center of Responsive Politics has found that the lobbying industry continued to contract in 2015. According to the report, “Overall spending dipped just slightly last year, from $3.24 billion in 2014 to $3.20 billion, but the number became the latest data point in the long, slow slide in total outlays by clients lobbying the federal government.” Similarly, the number of registered lobbyists has continued to fall. In 2015 there were 11,465 registered lobbyists, 1,489 less than were reported in 2010.
Despite some negative figures from the report, not everyone on K Street had a bad year. In fact, a number of big firms including: Akin Gump, BGR Group, Brownstein Hyatt, Cornerstone Government Affairs, Covington & Burling, Greenberg Traurig, Ogilvy and Venable were all able to bring in over $1 million more from clients in 2015 than they did in 2014.
In 2015 the energy and natural resources industry suffered the biggest decline in lobbying spending. Contributing to this decline, the “oil and gas companies extended their lobbying slump for a third year…. That decrease is reminiscent of the downward slope in lobbying by electric utilities after a 2010 nosedive.” Much of the slump from oil and gas companies can be attributed to the collapsing price of oil in 2015. According to the Wall Street Journal, “After plunging from more than $100 a barrel to nearly $50 a barrel last year, U.S. oil prices fell 30% in 2015 to $37.04 a barrel. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 35% to $37.28 a barrel.” Currently, oil sits at $30.97 a barrel.
In 2016 we will continue to monitor the industry and report on the latest lobbying trends, news, and rules and regulations.