Lobby League '27 Software

The software industry has only recently begun to create a sizable presence in the Washington lobbying scene, having for many years regarded lobbying as a “swarmy business,” an industry lobbyist said. The young and largely unregulated industry is slowly emerging from that “ostrich mentality,” forced in large part by a public debate over rampant copyright violations.

Yet while lobbying staffs have grown, the industry still lags on political giving. “It is clear when speaking to CEOs that even though they want influence, they feel the whole fundraising process in relatively unclean,” one industry insider said.

Business Software Alliance: Emery Simon, Robert Cresanti BSA represents the heavyweights in software, an industry populated mostly by “young sprouts.” Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Adobe are members. Simon is “irascible and tenacious,” a fellow lobbyist said. He has a reputation as the “go-to guy on software [who] could write a book on intellectual property,” another source said. Cresanti’s “personality is absolutely perfect for the IT industry — he’s gracious and charming and can explain things simply and self-deprecatingly.”

Microsoft: Jack Krumholtz Microsoft is the “big enchilada,” with a Washington lobbying staff far larger than any of its competitors. Krumholtz is the storied lobbyist who built the Redmond giant up from a one-man shop in the ’90s. Although Krumholtz does less lobbying now, his talented staff makes Microsoft the “best shop to look at to say where software is going.” Microsoft’s PAC is the largest in the industry by far.

Entertainment Software Association: Ed Desmond, Debbie Rose ESA represents the video-game industry, which grosses more than box-office movie receipts and is growing larger still. Desmond and Rose, the only two lobbyists at the 10-year-old group, both have House Judiciary Committee experience. Their staff “understands the Hill, knows who to talk to and asks the right questions,” one source said.

IBM: Chris Caine Although perhaps best known as a computer maker, IBM offers a large assortment of business software products. The company’s sizable lobbying staff enjoys a strong reputation. Caine joined IBM in 1984 and rose to chief lobbyist in 1996.

Information Technology Association of America: Harris Miller, Joe Tasker, Jeff Lande ITAA’s 400 members run the gamut of information technology companies. Lande is taking over the software division from Bartlett Cleland, who is leaving to head a Kansas City-based company. One source said Lande is a “solid program manager” with “good connections” who worked six years on the Hill in veterans affairs.

Software & Information Industry Association: Mark Bohannon, Keith Kupferschmid SIIA was formed several years ago from the merger of the Software Publishers Association and the Information Industry Association. Bohannon was senior official at the Commerce Department during the Clinton administration.

Oracle: Robert Hoffman A former legislative director to former Sen. Larry Pressler (R-S.D.) and current Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Hoffman is “terrific” and “has done a great job” revamping Oracle’s shop, one source said.

Autodesk: David Crane Autodesk, a maker of computer-assisted design (CAD) products, has a “one-man shop but he is everywhere,” a source said. Autodesk opened its Washington office in 1999.

This is The Hill’s weekly listing of the top lobbyists in a specific industry — in this case, software — based on conversations with the major players on K Street, congressional staffers and other Washington insiders.