Posts Tagged ‘tech lobbying’

“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.

Facebook’s Lobbying Dollars Low

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Politico released a list of top spenders on lobbying among tech giants – and it is no surprise that Verizon, Comcast and AT&T make the top. What’s interesting is how low on the ladder Facebook falls. With just $60,000 spent in Quarter 2, (and only about $41,000 in Quarter 1) Facebook finished last on the list of biggest tech spenders.

One shouldn’t assume that’s because Facebook’s lobbying team is run by intern-types in torn jeans and flip-flops though —last year, it brought in Timothy Sparapani, a former senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, to beef up its lobbying effort being run by Adam Conner. Conner is no slouch himself, having worked for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York) in the past. Ironically, Sparapani had been a fierce privacy advocate before joining Facebook, foregoing an account on the social networking site for himself until recently (funky shades, Tim).

While Facebook’s spending has almost doubled compared to previous quarters, it’s still low compared to other tech-lobbying companies considering there is a new Internet Privacy Bill in the works that’s sure to affect the company. But perhaps the deep resentment over the under-construction bill that’s already brewing among smaller players in online business is holding big fish like Facebook and Google back from a more conspicuous role. Perhaps they feel it’s wiser not to treat this one as their own solitary fight — and their spending figures sure seem to demonstrate that.