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Lobbyists Adjusting to Environment

“The White House doesn’t want to give away any more power or money any more than the agencies do, so they’re going to come out against earmarks as well,” the lobbyist continued.

But not all appropriations lobbyists agree. GolinHarris lobbyist Michael Fulton said Congressional leaders urged downtown early on to set the bar low this year. In contrast to prior years, Fulton also said the new disclosure requirements mean lobbyists and their clients are no longer left guessing whether a request was even made.

“We have counseled from the outset of the need to be austere, that there would be a reduction in the number of projects,” Fulton said. “Transparency has been positive.”

“Lobbyists and our clients now know what Members put forward. Before [2009] you submitted your request to Congressional staff, you filled out all of the forms, you met with the Members, you had support letters, you had meetings and all kinds of activities to support your project,” he continued. “And you never knew whether your project got submitted to the committee or not. Now those are on a Web site and you can search it and our clients can search it.”

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