Good Gummint Dudn’t Come Cheap

The spelling is the closest I can get to the precise sound of the words spoken by iconic Washington lobbyist, J.D. Williams, at the conclusion of a meeting with a prospective client about 30 years ago. His cowboy-booted feet were on a huge desk that included a built in spittoon.

J.D. Williams chewed tobacco in those days at least when he was not saying “good gummint dudn’t come cheap.” J.D. was the first real live lobbyist I had ever met.

It is rumored that there are some heartless people who go whole days without a shred of concern for lobbyists like J.D. who toil endlessly – though not thanklessly – on our behalf. Presumably, they are not readers of The Hill, a newspaper that deploys eager reporters to cover the influence industry.

Here are excerpts from two articles in The Hill to warm your heart as you projectile vomit eggnog through your nose.

Top 10 lobbying victories of 2013 by Kevin Bogardus

“The influence industry had a tough slog in 2013 as Congress recorded one of the most unproductive years in history.

With major initiatives on immigration and taxes stalled, lobbyists scored many of their biggest wins while playing defense on legislation and regulations.

1.The NRA lived up to its reputation as a lobbying powerhouse this year in the charged battle over gun control legislation.

2. Business groups scored a lobbying breakthrough this summer when they convinced the administration to delay the controversial employer mandate under ObamaCare.

3. Senate Democrats went “nuclear” in November, elating groups on the left that had lobbied for years to limit the filibuster.

4. Airlines and aviation unions got Congress to blink on the spending cuts from sequestration.

5. The oil and gas industry, with a little help from food producers, won a victory over the ethanol mandate in 2013.

6. Business groups sprang into action this year when campaign finance reformers sought rules that would force public companies to disclose their political spending.

7. It has been a banner year for gay rights advocates.

8. The defense industry and public interest groups made some gains this year in their long battle to reverse the cuts from sequestration.

9. Federal workers took a hit from furloughs this year but flexed their lobbying might to win back pay after the government shutdown.

10. The administration issued a rule to protect workers from harmful silica dust after years of stalling.”

But all was not lost according to Megan R. Wilson in her piece entitled “K St. mints money from regs surge.”

“Lobbyists are minting money from the surge in government regulations.

Top K Street officials say their regulatory work has accelerated in recent years thanks to the sprawling rule-making from the healthcare and financial reform laws.

While revenue from traditional lobbying work has flatlined, K Street firms say their regulatory practices are thriving. Several lobbyists said federal agencies are increasingly where all the action is.

You’re trying to develop clients, and while you can’t sell them on bills coming out of Congress, you can sell them … on working with the agencies.

A regulatory lawyer can earn anywhere from $350 to $1,000 per hour when working for a client, depending on the firm and the attorney’s level of experience, according to several accounts.

And one of the most important but little-known steps in the regulatory process, the filing of a comment letter on a proposed rule, could cost a company up to $100,000, one source said.

‘A regulatory project can far exceed a yearly retainer of a typical lobbying representation,’ said the regulatory lobbyist. ‘For all we think about the money that goes into lobbying, it’s chump change.’”

As your seasonal philanthropic thoughts turn to the neediest, please remember the lobbyists.

Good Gummint Dudn’t Come Cheap.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *