Posts Tagged ‘Podesta Group’

Top Lobby Firms on Fiscal Cliff

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

“FISCAL” AND “CLIFF” may be the two most common words in Washington today behind “and” and “the,” “the” being most frequently used to furnish “the fiscal cliff.”  Yet one has to plow through a lot of weeds to discover the context in which they are used or alluded to by top lobbying firms (googling “fiscal cliff” sure doesn't help).  Here I've done just that:

Patton Boggs –In November, Patton Boggs released a post-election forecast of what to expect in the months and year to come.  From the report: “Many Senators and Representatives recognize the irony that the best way to prevent going over the fiscal cliff this year is to cut a deal that merely creates a bigger cliff that would arrive in another six or twelve months. But doing so would at least keep us at the precipice.”

Akin, Gump –  Arshi Siddiqui, a partner at Akin Gump and former aide to Nanci Pelosi, expressed some optimism  in a November National Journal article: “I was happy about the rhetoric from the last meeting. Everyone realized that they needed a nice tone, and the markets responded nicely.  There will be lots of up and downs before we get to a successful resolution.”  By contrast, these meetings were described in the author’s terms as “Kumbaya rhetoric,” resembling “a stand-off in an old black-and-white Western movie, with two cowboys looking for the other to make the first move.”

Podesta GroupIn a recent Politico article, Tony Podesta, Founder and Chairman of Podesta Group, alluded to the business opportunities the cliff presents:  “This is a once in a generation opportunity to reform the tax code.  Companies I would imagine will put in extra resources. There will be plenty of opportunities.”

Holland & Knight – In the same vein (a

nd in fact the same article) Rich Gold, Partner at Holland & Knight, said “it's springtime in Washington in January”—a rather candid allusion to the gains lobbying firms stand to make by year’s end.

Van Scoyoc – Jeffrey Trinca, vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates, offers a unique perspective on the cliff as a longtime Senate tax counsel.  In a November Government Executive article about the administrative complications a delayed tax deal would bring to the IRS, Trinca said that “Congress is adding to the risk at IRS during the filing season.”  (Now quoting from the article…) “In the “good old days,” he said, Congress would finalize tax changes by the end of November or earlier, and IRS would make the necessary program changes in its computer systems. At the end of November, officials would say “no more” and, barring new legislation, they would “pause everything and focus on load testing,” Trinca said.”

Alston & Bird – Earl Pomeroy, former North Dakota Congressman and current Senior Counsel at Alston & Bird, deems Boehner the central figure in talks: “He has got one whale of a situation on his hands.”

U.S. Chamber – Not a lobby firm but certainly a lobby spender. President and CEO of the Chamber, Tom Donahue, had this to say in an op-ed entitled “America’s Looming Fiscal Cliff”: “We must adopt a fairer, simpler tax system that lowers marginal rates, encourages economic growth, promotes competitiveness and eases compliance. We must make sensible changes to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other mandatory spending programs, which make up nearly 60 percent of our budget. Reforming entitlements is essential not just to our nation’s long-term fiscal health but to the future of the programs themselves. We must reform them to keep them solvent for other generations.”

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“Top Lobbyists” of 2012 Reveal Changes on K St.

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

THE HILL RECENTLY released its annual list of top lobbyists, which comes at an interesting time considering a pre-election want of congressional activity.  (The Senate is holding daily pro forma sessions; the House doesn’t reconvene until the 12th).  I spoke briefly with the list’s compiler-in-chief, Business and Lobbying Editor Dustin Weaver, to review his findings.

“It’s more of an art than a craft,” said Weaver, describing the criteria used to select the lobbyists. “As an editorial team, we’re simply looking for people who shape the debate – people at the forefront.”

People at the forefront indeed.  The “Hired Guns” section not only contains K St. all-stars – Tony Podesta, for instance, founder and chairman of the prominent Podesta Group – but it also includes household names: Chris Dodd, Trent Lott, Haley Barbour, among others.  “Barbour’s new to the list,” said Weaver, “but that’s only because he just returned to lobbying – otherwise he’s a no-brainer.”

But not everyone who was selected is an established veteran.  Colin Crowell, new to the list this year, is Weaver. “Tech is the fastest growing industry in America, and it’s definitely rubbing off on K St.”

But besides attracting more techies, how else is K St. changing?  Weaver indicated two trends:

For the short term, it’s losing revenue.  The August and September recesses have depleted the coffers even of giants like Patton Boggs, which recently reported a 4% earnings drop from this time last year.  “But recess doesn’t mean lobbyists are twiddling their thumbs,” said Weaver.  “There are a lot of big-ticket issues to prepare for when Congress reconvenes.”

For the long term, it’s fundamentally reshaping itself.  Trends show an increasing preference for small, independent lobby shops over the larger, staid firms.  “A lot of lobbyists don’t feel the need to work for big shops anymore,” said Weaver.  “Many of them have been wildly successful on their own.”

It’s doubtful any of these patterns will bring about radical changes in the lobbying world.  It’s safer to assume the Barbours and Podestas of the industry will remain fixtures for years to come.  The Hill’s annual list will be a reliable test for this assessment.

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, July 2nd, 2010 by Vbhotla

Eric Brown tips us off to an LDA amendment: originally the bill sought to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act, but now amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act to “prohibit any registered lobbyist whose clients include foreign governments which are found to be sponsors of international terrorism or include other foreign nationals from making contributions and other campaign-related disbursements in elections for public office”; bill text is now available from the GPO here (H.R. 5609).

Big acquisition by Patton Boggs reported: Breaux Lott Leadership Group will now be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Patton Boggs; former Senators John Breaux (D-La.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and their small but “effective” boutique lobbying firm will join the large team at Patton Boggs, starting immediately. Bonus (because it’s Friday): did you know Trent Lott’s given name is Chester Trent Lott? His son (also a member of the lobbying group) bears the same name. Now you know. Read about the “strategic coup” at the Blog of Legal Times.

Time profiles Lobbyists and their Return on Investment, in a series of short lobbyist/issue/payoff profiles.

Ex-Rep. John Campbell was taken down by the Jack Abramoff affair; Roll Call profiles Campbell’s life since 2005.

House Ethics Clears Rep. Richardson. The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct released its report in the matter of Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) and cleared her of any wrongdoing in the mortgage matter. (link is a PDF)

Two great compliance / political law resources to take to the beach with you  over your long holiday weekend:

Quote of the week:

“The irony of it is that every time the president says we lobbyists have all this influence, people who don’t have a lobbyist want one… He exaggerates our power, but he increases demand for our services.” – Tony Podesta, Podesta Group, NYTimes article on the “Superlobbyist,” July 1.

Happy 4th of July Holiday Weekend from all of us at Lobby Blog!