Obama and the Miracle on K Street: Some 2009 numbers 

Barack Obama came to office pledging to curb special-interest pleading and the power of lobbyists. I've spent the last year arguing that Obama is good for lobbyists because by reaching government's arm into every corner of the economy, he has made lobbying a necessity. Under Big Government, a good political connection is the most valuable asset a company can have.

A Roll Call analysis confirms that well-connected lobbyists are in higher demand this year:

K Street’s top 25 firms cashed in on the aggressive legislative agenda unleashed by the new president and bigger Democratic majorities in Congress in 2009 to post double-digit growth of about 10 percent over the previous year.

Despite economic uncertainty and the promise by the Obama administration to clamp down on the influence industry, the majority of top lobbying firms posted higher numbers in 2009, with 11 firms showing dramatic growth....

The Podesta Group, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Holland & Knight and Alston & Bird all reported more than 40 percent increases in billings. K&L Gates, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti and McBee Strategic Consulting posted gains of more than 20 percent in 2009.

The lesson: you cannot simultaneously increase government and curb the special interests.

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Timothy P. Carney

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