Small K Street shops see business boom

Business is booming at Washington’s boutique lobby shops.

Of more than a dozen small firms contacted by The Hill, eight said their lobbying revenue was up during the most recent quarter, which ran from April to June. The deadline for reporting that revenue is Monday.

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Crossroads Strategies posted $1.34 million in earnings during the second quarter of 2014, a 33 percent increase over the same period last year. 

The powerhouse Republican firm Clark, Geduldig, Cranford & Nielsen tallied $1.4 million in lobbying fees during the same period — its single best quarter since opening its doors in 2000.

"If there is a trend, it is that the most successful firms work really hard and enjoy doing it," Steve Clark, the firm's founding partner, told The Hill in an email.

The firm also said it is also poised to post growth for the rest of the year.

“It’s the realization that the House is going to stay Republican and the Senate could flip,” said partner Sam Geduldig, a partner at the firm and former senior aide to Speaker John Boehner (Ohio). “We get identified with the [Republican] Party and when the party does well, so do we.”

Monument Policy Group also had a record quarter, posting $1.16 million in earnings. The shop added five new lobbying clients this year, including the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, which includes tech companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google.

Smaller firms are surging at a time of upheaval for the lobbying industry. With new business hard to come by, mergers, mass defections and rampant poaching of talent have become the norm.

It remains to be seen whether Washington’s large lobbying firms saw success in the second quarter, but many of their upstart competitors are thriving.

Republic Consulting Group — founded by Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) chief aide, Hunter Bates, and former Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) — boosted its earnings by almost 20 percent last year, bringing in $560,000 from April through June. 

Bates broke away from his much larger firm, Bates Capitol Group, last January.

Daly Consulting Group — which features financial services lobbyist Justin Daly — saw a modest gain over last year’s second quarter take, with $390,000 in lobbying fees. 

That’s a hefty haul, given that Daly runs his shop solo. His clients include Verizon, Goldman Sachs and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Riding a wave of tech lobbying, TwinLogic Strategies saw its revenues increase to a half-million dollars, a 14 percent jump from the same period in 2013.

Official lobbying revenue for boutique healthcare lobbying firm Chamber Hill Strategies dropped slightly over 2013’s take, from $325,000 to $320,000 in the second quarter of 2014.

But Michaela Sims, a partner at Chamber Hill, said overall revenue was up thanks to strategic consulting work and a subscriber-based healthcare publication.

Thorsen French Advocacy saw a near 20 percent dip in the second quarter, but told The Hill it was intentional. 

“We made a decision as we closed 2013 to downsize our client roster because revenue is only one way we measure success at this firm,” said co-founder Carl Thorsen.

The firm represents the Beer Institute, Comcast, Human Rights Campaign, the National Music Publishers Association and Cultural Care Au Pair, one of the largest au pair organizations in the country, among others. Thorsen French signed the Bitcoin Foundation, an advocacy group for the cryptocurrency, earlier this month. 

Thorsen said the firm has carved out policy areas that remain active even at a time when few bills are moving in Congress.

“Congress operates at a number of different levels, even when nothing is happening on the top-tier issues, there is almost always work to be done and this is where having a niche practice area keeps you busy,” he told The Hill.