lobbying

Uncertain times could bring new lobbying strategies
Workarounds include deeper outreach to think tanks, academia and other institutions

Even as more lawmakers have shrugged off donations from PACs and as the Trump era has disrupted the nation’s politics, K Street has not suffered a noticeable hit to its bottom line. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — It’s hard to imagine a more bonkers, unpredictable and politically toxic backdrop for K Street operators than the current one. But just wait until 2020 actually arrives. 

The presidential election year will hit lobbyists with potential risks all around. Candidates up and down the ballot will press proposals to remake the influence industry and to overhaul the nation’s campaign finance system. More candidates will reject K Street and business donations. The approaching elections, along with an expected impeachment trial early on, will turn Capitol Hill into an even bigger political mess.

Some Democrats see political system overhaul as winning 2020 issue
Bill to revamp campaign finance and voting passed House early, then stalled in Senate

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., talks with the media after votes on Capitol Hill in September. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Rep. Max Rose’s voters expected the freshman lawmaker from Staten Island, New York, to quiet down this election cycle about a major overhaul of the nation’s political system, they were mistaken.

It was a centerpiece of the Democrat’s campaign-trail mantra in 2018. And now, as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Congress, he’s not stopping. Neither are many of his similarly situated colleagues.

More companies publicly disclosing what they spend on politics, study finds
CPA-Zicklin Index measured the largest increase in companies with transparent policies

Google's parent company Alphabet is one of the most open about its political spending, according to the CPA-Zicklin Index . (Amy Osborne/AFP via Getty Images)

A rise in shareholder and consumer activism has prompted more companies to publicly disclose what they spend on politics.

Bruce Freed, president and co-founder of the Center for Political Accountability, said companies are doing it to insulate themselves from criticism at a time when politics has become more heated.

Interior nears a contract with a company its secretary used to lobby for
Conservation groups fear water deal will be a hazard for protected salmon and other aquatic life

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt testifies in May 2019. The department he leads is close to completing a contract for a water district he represented as a lobbyist. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Interior Department is close to completing a permanent water supply contract for a water district once represented by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt as a lobbyist, despite concerns that doing so would imperil aquatic species including endangered salmon. 

Conservation groups say the deal between the Interior Department and the Westlands Water District, which serves and is run by farmers in California’s Central Valley, promises to permanently divert more federally managed water to the district just as climate change threatens to make the state hotter and more prone to extreme drought.

Giuliani: I never lobbied or represented foreigners
Trump lawyer says scrutiny of his work represents a smear campaign against him

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani says the recent scrutiny of his work amounts to a smear campaign against him because of his high-profile defense of the president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rudy Giuliani has become a regular feature in President Donald Trump’s capital city, attracting scandal — and scrutiny from law enforcement — for his far-flung international endeavors. But unlike his most prominent White House client, Giuliani, who spent more than a dozen years with two well-known K Street firms, has deep ties to the influence industry.

The former New York mayor and onetime Republican presidential candidate logged a decade with the law and lobbying firm then known as Bracewell & Giuliani and a two-year stint after that with Greenberg Traurig, the professional home of notorious ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff before he went to prison.

Huawei lobbying cash lands on Trump donor with Ukraine clients
Chinese tech giant increased lobbying expenditures 2,000 percent in the third quarter

K Street Northwest is seen as the center of the lobbying world in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Huawei Technologies USA Inc. upped its lobbying expenditures by more than 2,000 percent between this year’s second and third quarters, with most of the increase going to pay a Trump donor with recent Ukrainian clients.

The U.S. operation of the giant Chinese technology company disclosed nearly $1.8 million in federal lobbying expenses between July 1 and Sept. 30, recent lobbying disclosures show.

Facebook posts biggest quarterly lobby tab, as business, health interests dominate K Street
Impeachment is not slowing down lobbying efforts

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2018. Facebook spent a record amount on lobbying this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook is on pace to spend more on federal lobbying this year than ever before, according to public disclosures out this week, as the social media giant’s CEO prepares to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

The company — at the center of debates over the spread of false information, data privacy and others — spent $12.3 million to lobby the federal government in the first nine months of the year. In 2018, Facebook shelled out $12.6 million for 12 months of lobbying.

Record lobbying tab racked up by FreedomWorks on health care
Conservative group spent more in third quarter alone than all of last year combined

Activists participate in a rally hosted by FreedomWorks on Sept. 26, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

The conservative lobbying and grassroots group FreedomWorks disclosed spending more than $2.7 million, the most it ever has reported shelling out, for federal lobbying campaigns in just three months this year.

Opposition to health care proposals such as “Medicare for All” and a Democrat-backed bill that would rein in prescription drug prices drove much of the work, said Jason Pye, FreedomWorks’ vice president of legislative affairs.

Candidate’s ex-senator dad lobbies for Chinese tech firm. That could be a problem
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman advising son Matt, and China’s ZTE

Matt Lieberman, son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman, is running for Senate in Georgia.  (Screenshot/Lieberman for Senate/YouTube)

U.S. national security experts of all political stripes agree: Chinese tech behemoth ZTE is a threat.

The company is a leading candidate to provide new markets with 5G networks, a lightning-fast wireless service that will support advanced technological applications.

Educating K Street: Colleges and universities seek influence in Congress, executive branch
Schools are in the midst of heated immigration, health care and technology debates

Stu Van Scoyoc is president and CEO of Van Scoyoc Associates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lobbyist Stu Van Scoyoc began working for the University of Alabama system three decades ago, helping the school smooth over a problem the 1986 tax overhaul created for its pension program. It’s still a client.

Lobbying on behalf of colleges and universities has been a mainstay of K Street work for years for firms like Van Scoyoc Associates. And many of the biggest spending university systems maintain their own lobbying outposts in Washington with in-house employees who monitor Capitol Hill and executive branch debates and look for federal funding opportunities, relying often on home-state and alumni connections.