April 25, 2015
Association lobbying: a boon for K Street and a tool for associations
Association TRENDS

For many associations, a crucial aspect of their mission is to advocate their legislative agenda before Congress. Likewise, association lobbying can be a welcome boon to firms, especially since lobbying revenue has declined in recent years. But which firms are the most influential in the association space, both in terms of clients and income? And, conversely, which associations spend the most on lobbying, and therefore are among the most influential in government relations?

Using data from Lobbyists.info (also owned by Columbia Books, Inc., parent company of Association TRENDS), we were able to determine the top five lobbying firms for total active association clients:

1. K&L Gates LLP: 24 association clients
2. Ernst & Young: 23 association clients
    Patton Boggs LLP: 23 association clients
3. Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville, PC: 22 association clients
4. Capitol Counsel LLC: 21 association clients
    The Podesta Group: 21 association clients
5. Hogan Lovells LLP: 20 association clients
     Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc.: 20 association clients

There are few surprises on this list for anyone familiar with the government relations industry, but how do these firms stack up in terms of total lobbying income from associations in 2013?

1. Patton Boggs LLP: $6,090,000
2. The Podesta Group: $4,430,000
3. Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc.: $4,100,000
4. Ernst & Young: $3,940,000
5. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP: $3,930,000

Given that this list contains some of the most influential firms on K Street, it’s clear that catering to the association space can prove lucrative. It’s also evident that associations see the worth in investing considerable funds to lobby Congress effectively, but which associations (and industries) wielded the most significant monetary clout on K Street in 2013?

1. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA): $275,781
2. National Cable & Telecommunications Association: $211,365
3. Edison Electric Institute: $148,962
4. Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO): $130,845
5. U.S. Chamber of Commerce: $128,832

These associations represent some of the biggest and most lucrative industries in America, so it’s no shock that they have the most money to spend on lobbying, but they’re not the only associations who are willing to spend significant cash to further their legislative agendas; four other associations spent six figures on lobbying in 2013, and 35 others spent more than $50,000. Despite Congressional gridlock and a government shutdown, associations are finding ways to make themselves heard on Capitol Hill.

Association TRENDS