Study: Lobbyists are quitting at record pace

Lobbyists are quitting the business at a record pace, according to a study released Monday.

Over 1,400 lobbyists "deregistered" with Congress in the second quarter of 2009, according to a study conducted jointly by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) and OMB Watch.

Typically, only a few hundred lobbyists quit each quarter.

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The giant spike in resignations came just after the Obama administration instituted strict new rules on lobbyist activity. The White House banned employees from receiving gifts from lobbyists and announced that any lobbyist hired by the executive branch could not work on the same issues on which he or she lobbied.

“While we can’t draw a direct link between the president’s executive order and the increased pace of terminations during the second quarter of 2009, we can say that they came at a most controversial time,” said Lee Mason, director of Nonprofit Speech Rights for OMB Watch.

The report also found that since January 2008, lobbyists are quitting at a faster pace than they are being replaced.

Over 18,000 lobbyists have deregistered, while only 15,310 have registered.

But the study's authors warn that not all of the deregistered lobbyists may actually be out of business.

"At the federal level, many people working in the lobbying industry are not registered lobbyists, instead adopting titles such as 'senior adviser' or other executive monikers, thereby avoiding federal disclosure requirements under the Lobbying Disclosure Act," CRP and OMB Watch said in a statement.