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Blogs / Influence

K Street's Q4 Expectations

October 26, 2012
Third quarter lobbying revenues flowed in this week and receipts are down at a cross-section of firms, but lobbyists see some salvation in Q4 and beyond.

"We're feeling kind of bullish, generally. For 2013 we'll see a big continuation of the fiscal issues" said Lisa Kountoupes of Kountoupes Consulting

Put another way: the questions surrounding the fiscal cliff loom large and could "substantially" buoy K Street, according to some lobbyists. 

"I think people realize this is a point of maximum risk," said John Michael Gonzalez of Peck, Madigan, Jones. Meaning now's the time to be engaging in the influence game.

But even the looming prospect of tax and entitlement reform, which promises work aplenty for Washington's influence class, hasn't set K Street's tongues a wagging. The action, some say, is unlikely to beat out the first few years of the Obama presidency that saw health care and Wall Street reform consume the Capitol while helping lobbying shops across the city smash revenue records.

Here are four things to look for in the fourth quarter. 

-D Day aka Election Day: Like everyone else , K Street is waiting on the election to help determine the country's course over the next two years. In the meantime, "The best thing you can do in our world is make sure your current guys have what they need and are informed," said John Scofield of Shockey Scofield Solutions.

-The Boy Scout Theory: And with so much political uncertainty, it pays to follow the scouts' motto, "Be Prepared!" But it's hard to plan with so much uncertainty, right? Well, not exactly. "Uncertainty kind of plays both ways in the lobbying world. It makes clients anxious but while there's still a possibility of action you still have to have a seat at the table," Scofield said. 

-Playing Offense on Defense:  Some lobbies, like big oil, are already working to protect their tax breaks during the lame duck. "We're certainly wary of change," API tax manager Stephen Comstock said earlier this month. And don't forget the defense sequester and its $55 billion in cuts to the Pentagon, which has the defense industry on high alert.

-Off the Record: Then there are the services that firms perform like regulatory work and investigation preparation that feed firms' bottom lines but aren't disclosed. Asked what was in store for the fourth quarter, one lobbyist at a major firm underscored the significance these receipts play in the advocacy world.
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