After the outcome of the 2016 election many in Washington, D.C. expected a flurry of lobbying activity under the new 115th Congress and Administration. Republicans finally had control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. Many industry experts talked about the end of gridlock and a steady flow of legislative accomplishments. In fact, LobbyBlog has previously posted about the need to re-write one’s lobbying playbook under the Trump Administration. Some evidence, does point in this direction. As previously reported, “the lobbying industry has recorded its highest earnings in the first quarter for the past five years as many companies have invested heavily in lobbying activities aimed at the new administration and the Republican controlled congress.” However, per a new report in Roll Call, “clients have been hiring lobbyists at a reduced rate compared to 2009.”
According to the report, “Lobbyists and organizations that employ them filed 1,578 disclosure forms to indicate new client relationships beginning between January and April of this year. That’s only slightly higher than the number of clients in the same time period in 2015 — after the 2014 midterm elections — and 2013 — after Obama’s re-election victory. In both those years, the president’s party did not have a majority in both chambers of Congress. The last time one party controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, the number of new clients was noticeably higher. Lobbyists took on 3,433 clients in 2009 in the months after Obama won his first presidential election — more than double the amount after President Donald Trump won.”
Not only has the rate of companies looking to hire lobbyists reduced when compared to 2009, “From January to March, the number of registered lobbyists dropped 10.3 percent compared to 2016’s first quarter, with only 9,175 official lobbyists on record. That number has been declining in recent years, but this is the biggest drop since lobbying reports started being reported quarterly,” according to Center for Responsive Politics report.