FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
K Street is adapting perfectly well to a Democratic-controlled government.
?There is no question that it has been our most productive period since the election since we have been in practice,? said Rich Gold, head of the public policy group for Holland & Knight.
They’re apparently loving it, in fact.
K Street’s economy appears to be on the rebound as a number of firms are reporting a sharp increase in new clients, a trend lobbyists attributed to the new president’s far-reaching agenda.
The combination of a deepening recession and the distraction of the 2008 campaign, which kept Congress out of session for much of the latter half of last year, were blamed for pushing lobbying revenues down in 2008.
Since Nov. 4, however, several top firms have signed new clients at a pace exceeding the growth periods that followed previous election cycles. Lobbyists credited the recently passed stimulus package and anticipated policy fights touching on the energy, healthcare and financial-services sectors for the uptick.
As well they should. It is my sad duty to inform anybody who voted for any Democrat on the basis that the Democratic Party would end the influence of lobbyists in government: you did not just fall for a lie. You fell for a stupid lie. Democrats like government, intrinsically; and while you can have a legitimate policy debate over whether that’s a sensible notion or not what’s not at debate is that when government gets bigger, so does its budget. The money in that budget has to go somewhere, and many people are going to have a personal opinion about where.
Hence, lobbyists – which the Democrats are perfectly happy to deal with, which is why they made sure that K Street saw the recent debt bill before their own staffers. And the relationship is only going to get cozier and cozier:
If you had to look into a crystal ball five years down the road, how would you expect to see K Street operating?
I think you’ll see a group of experts develop that aren’t here, that’ll look somewhat similar to Wall Street experts. I don’t mean investment banking experts so much, but people that are basically experts in financial services, expert in lending practices, expert in foreclosure practices, and that’s not part of K Street today. In fact, it’ll be a very big part of K Street by the time the stimulus program has matured.
Which practice areas do you think are going to grow and which are going to shrink?
Everything is going to grow because of the amount of money that has been put in the stimulus package. … Washington is becoming the bank of the world.
Just to reinforce a point here: you can argue whether or not this is ethical or not, but not whether it’s logical. It’s logical. More government means more opportunities to profit from government. Where there is an opportunity to profit, someone will find a way to exploit that opportunity. Attempts to stop that from happening will ultimately fail, because there is a limit to what you can accomplish with a tactical solution to a strategic problem. If you don’t like any of that, then don’t vote for political parties who explicitly say that they like more government.
And, yes, I think that the last month has shown us the actual, measurable difference on this topic between the two political parties that matter in this country.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.