Washington Lobby Firms Reporting Less
First-quarter reported lobbying work by companies contracted by clients to lobby the federal government is less than reported in earlier quarters. The 3.8 percent drop in reported outside-contracted lobbying work was greater than the 1.4 percent drop in overall reported lobbying.
While the reduction in reported lobbying work appears to be greater at outside-contracted firms, it may have more to do with decisions on what amount should be reported in federal lobbying reports. The lobbying laws call for reporting of only certain kinds of activity, and by only those who are active above a certain level. For example, it does not include reporting of grass-roots lobbying, nor does it cover persons spending less than 20 percent of their time lobbying. Based on news accounts, there is a wide variation of practices at contracted firms. Many of these firms are consulting companies, public relations firms, law firms and government relations companies that provide other services beyond those strictly defined in the law as lobbying.
Although there are still lobbying reports being filed, overall lobbying expenditures now total $823 million for the first quarter, down 1.4 percent from the $835 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Political MoneyLine looked at the 543 firms that reported more than $100,000 in lobbying revenue during the first quarter. These firms reported lobbying revenue of $306 million, down about 3.8 percent from the $318 million in the last quarter of 2012. The 543 lobbying firms reported having more than 10,000 clients. The number of unique clients is less since the same client may have hired several firms.
The top 14 firms reporting lobbying revenue had lobbying revenue of more than $3 million. These included: