K Street Files: Comedy Club

Posted February 26, 2010 at 3:47pm

While K Street is filled with Type A personalities who routinely catch the late Metro train home, at least one lobbying firm is trying to lighten things up a bit.

[IMGCAP(1)]In a job notice for a legislative and policy associate position, the Raben Group stated that the ideal candidate for the firm should not only be creative, energetic and a collegial self-starter but also would possess “like us, a sense of humor.”

And just in case any prospective applicants missed the point, the notice repeated the point when listing five essential qualifications for the job. Along with a knowledge of the federal and state legislative process, compelling interest in public policy, excellent writing skills, and knowledge of Word and Excel, the job description had another bullet point that stated “Again, the humor.”

In an e-mail response, Robert Raben, the firm’s founder explained, “We like people with a sense of perspective.”

“We’re not looking for Wanda Sykes,” he added. “Unless Wanda enjoys legislative research and Congressional Quarterly.”

California Dreamin’. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is touching down in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for two days of lobbying meetings with lawmakers and Obama administration officials.

In an interview last week, the top executive for the nation’s 10th-largest city said he has a long wish list of goodies he’s hoping federal officials will grant his ailing city, which has an unemployment rate that exceeds both the national and Golden State averages.

“Jobs and getting the economy moving is the No. 1 thing on the minds of my people,” Reed said. “Health care is way, way down on their list of concerns.”

So with his marching orders in hand, Reed plans to meet this week with home-state Members and Department of Energy officials to discuss loan applications for San Jose-based companies, as well as sit-downs with Federal Aviation Administration and General Services Administration folks about funds for a new airport and federal courthouse. He’s not holding his breath, though.

“This stuff is always fluid,” he said. “I’ve been there quite a few times and occasionally I get the message from Members of Congress that ‘Look, we can’t even look at that right now because we’re obsessed with health care,’ for example.”

New Kids on the Street. Among the nearly 500 lobbying firms that posted revenues in excess of $500,000 last year, there are several new lobby shops that are making a name for themselves downtown.

Flagship Government Relations led this field of new firms by bringing in $1.35 million during its first year. The firm is a new incarnation of the PMA Group, a former top 25 lobbying firm that closed its doors a year ago after becoming embroiled in a federal probe. All 14 of Flagship Government Relations’ lobbyists worked for the PMA Group in recent years.

Finishing second among new firms is LHD & Associates, which brought in $1.3 million through its eight clients, followed by Utrecht & Phillips — an offshoot of Ryan, Phillips, Utrecht & MacKinnon — with $1.1 million from its seven clients.

Other new firms in 2009 what had strong lobbying revenue include Capitol Legislative Strategies with $990,000, Nappi & Hoppe with $602,500 and Berry Appleman & Leiden with $540,000.

Alex Knott contributed to this report.

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