Rohit Kumar (right), deputy chief of staff to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is one of the chambers top GOP aides being targeted by K Street lobbying shops ahead of the 112th Congress second year.
Vogel and other downtown lobbyists noted that the staffers themselves are probably less concerned about the timing of their cooling-off periods and typically will opt to leave for the private sector based on their own personal or professional timelines.
But Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, said many Hill aides keep their K Street prospects in mind.
"If your plan includes K Street, there might be some mutual interest in the timing," she said. As for the firms, associations and corporate offices looking to make hires, she added that many want to have their teams in place even before next year's election results come in. And many already made big investments in House-connected Republicans after the 2010 midterms.
"It's not surprising that firms might be planning ahead and trying to pick out the people they'd like to lure away now so that they're ready to roll in January 2013," she said.
Some top K Street executives, though, cautioned that the Hill prospects may confront a relatively down lobby marketplace, even if it is better than the overall economy.
"A lot of the firms are tightening their belts," one lobby shop owner said. But he added that in-house corporate shops "can afford to pick up a senior staffer and let them cool for a year."
Adler said the senior Senate aides aren't likely to find any problems fielding top salaries from K Street employers of any type.
"I don't think their compensation will be negatively affected by the economy," he said. "Political Washington is in another parallel when it comes to compensation."