Change, of a Limited Sort, Comes to K Street

"Washington's $3 billion lobbying industry has begun shedding Republican staffers, snapping up Democratic operatives and entire firms, a shift that started even before Tuesday's ballots were counted," reports the Wall Street Journal. "One signal of the new era" is that the influential Republican firm BGR Holdings (previously called Barbour Griffith & Rogers) is acquiring the Westin Rinehart Group, which is run by former Clinton administration aides. The Republican-dominated Ogilvy Government Relations (previously called the Federalist Group) will be revamped by "two former Democratic staffers": Dean Aguillen, who worked for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and James Williams, who has worked for Senators Joe Biden, Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer. Ogilvy's clients include "Chevron, the American Chemistry Council, Nascar and shareholders of the 20% of American International Group Inc. that isn't held by the federal government." Lockheed Martin and Boeing "both recently named Democrats as top lobbyists." Comcast's "chief Republican lobbyist" left the company, and the Information Technology Industry Council "passed over its top in-house Republican in naming its new president." The association and three companies all said the changes "weren't made to curry favor with Democrats."


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Democratic lobbyists are eyeing ways to take advantage of Obama’s ties with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other congressional powerhouses, hoping legislation will move faster because Obama won’t have the congressional learning curve that confronted Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. ...

The White House change of guard will produce a more significant lobbying focus for foreign governments, foreign companies and large numbers of corporations that do significant business with the administration but not with Congress. The reasons are twofold: Obama’s policies and the worldwide economic slump.