“K STREET’S SPRING AWAKENING” is how The Washington Post described the recent blossom of new lobbyist registrations. A formidable batch of 686 registrations were filed in April, just enough to win the three-year record, and more than enough to augur well for those who predict a sprightly Q2. The Post sketches the chronology of lobbying activity as follows: a client hires a firm…a few weeks ensue…said firm registers after their first contact on the Hill…a few weeks ensue…said firm reports fees. Given that typical Q4 hiring seeped into the first months of 2013 (because of the fiscal cliff, as some have claimed), then a full rebound may come later than previous years, reaching its apogee this summer. There’s just one problem: August recess.
All together, too many factors are clouding the usually clear-eyed and credible metric of reported lobbying spending. A decrease in year-to-year spending from 2012-2013 may well result, continuing a trend that began in 2010 and prompting a slew of reporters to herald the demise of traditional lobbying. These tidings, should they come, are best taken with a skeptical eye.