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Nothing is Getting Done in Washington and Lobbyists Couldn’t Be Happier.

Return of Congressional Earmarks and Slim Majorities Equal Big Bottom Lines

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Key Points

Lobbyists are raking in record sums of cash during the first half of 2021.

According to The Hill, firms on K Street are reporting record breaking numbers thanks, in part, to Democrats’ trillion-dollar spending plans and the return of congressional earmarks. “When lawmakers are debating bills with trillion-dollar price tags, it is the rare client that isn’t working 24/7 with us,” says Stewart Verdery, CEO of [lobbying firm] Monument Advocacy.

Monument Advocacy reported more than $2.5 million in revenue in the second-quarter of 2021, a 22-percent increase year-over-year.

And they aren’t alone.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck – as big as they come on K Street –  had its best quarter yet, taking in more than $14 million between April and June. Marc Lampkin, chair of the BHFS government relations department says it’s thanks to the tsunami of policy proposals being pushed by Democrats and the Biden administration – especially the infrastructure bill.

“Corporations sense that after years of potential, this is the first time that a deal on a big infrastructure deal seems possible and real,” Lampkin said. “Companies that had previously been skeptical are now paying attention and coming to Washington.”

More bills. More lobbyists. More money. Higher likelihood of corruption.

Then there’s the return of congressional earmarks. Lobbyists love earmarks because they generate new clients. Representatives have already dropped 1,500 earmarks into the infrastructure bill  – costing $5.7 billion dollars.

Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) thinks earmarks are a “monumentally bad idea.”

“The first problem is the corrupting nature of earmarks. When we place the power to appropriate and the power to spend in the same hands, we bypass the most important check against corruption,” says McClintock.

And it’s this kind of corrupting influence that Democrats set out to curb with HR1 (aka the For The People Act). The 800-page beast of a bill proposes reforms to lobbying by implementing stricter registration requirements and more oversight; it’s currently stalled out in the Senate.

Maybe we need more lobbyists.