From a profile of uber lobbyist Heather Podesta (“the Insider’s Insider”) by Manuel Roig-Franzia in today’s WaPo:
In a glum economy, the lobbying business feels kind of bubbly. Every new Obama proposal comes with acres of fine print for corporate powers, interests groups and lobbyists to haggle over, profitably. Three gargantuan legislative challenges — health care, the environment, the economy — crisscrossing at once on Capitol Hill. Major health-care interests alone are spending $1.4 million this year lobbying Congress . . . per day, according to Common Cause, a government watchdog group. A lobbyist’s delight created, ironically, by the let’s-solve-all-our-problems-RIGHT-NOW approach of a president who pooh-poohed the excesses of lobbyists.
“This is a very good time to be a Democratic lobbyist . . . it’s incredibly exciting to be able to engage with Democrats and really see things happen,” Podesta says one afternoon at her office in one of those cool, restored red-brick buildings on E Street. “It’s always a good time to be Heather Podesta.”
There are more than 12,500 registered lobbyists — about 23 for every member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — and some are getting richer while others stagnate or even dip a bit because of all of this pesky recession talk. But those who operate at the confluence of this summer’s big three legislative streams are happiest of all.