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Lobbying So Easy Lobbyists Can No Longer Bill by the Hour

4:52 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Easy Money (photo: Psychonaught/wikimedia)

Check out this double-speak in Politico as an uber-lobbyist lawyer describes why his firm won’t be charging by the hour any longer:

 

For years, firms have struggled to attract senior aides — particularly nonlawyers — who aren’t interested in tracking their every move for billing clients.

But now, firms like Holland & Knight are saying bye-bye to the billable hour.

The switch for its lobbying division is part of an emerging trend in Washington that some observers say could usher in a new era of competition between lobby shops and law firms for top talent.

“I think if you look out 10 years, this will be a very large trend … and we could either lead or follow,” said Rich Gold, head of Holland & Knight’s public policy and regulation group.

The firm, which reported bringing in $9.5 million for federal lobbying during the first six months of 2011, is not only getting rid of the billable hour, but lobbying professionals in the firm will no longer keep track of their time at all.

“This has the potential to be a real game breaker in law firm recruiting because it opens up a new vein of talented folks who have previously shunned law firms like a fruitcake at a Christmas buffet because of the billable hour,” McCormick Group headhunter Ivan Adler said.

What this means:

“Our elected-official targets are so amenable to our corrupting influence, we can accomplish what our clients want so quickly, that the hourly rate system is outmoded. Congresspersons are so eager to meet our demands, and in such record time, that the actual moments involved no longer accurately represent the value to our client. Going forward, we’ll take a percentage of the cash value to our clients instead. If we save a client one hundred million dollars in taxes over ten years, we’ll take ten percent. If we game the system so that our client earns that sum in one year, we’ll take our cut all at once.” Read the rest of this entry →

Did Billy Tauzin’s PhRMA Retirement Prompt Evan Bayh to Quit?

12:35 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Billy Tauzin, the former Louisiana Democrat-turned-GOP who left Congress to run the pharmaceutical industry’s trade and lobby group, announced his retirement on Friday. Until then, Evan Bayh’s campaign team and Capitol Hill staff appear to have believed he was running for re-election 100%. Are these events connected?

W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, a former congressman from Louisiana, announced Friday that he is retiring at the end of June as head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which became a pivotal backer of health-care legislation after reaching a deal with the White House aimed at limiting damage to the industry.

Evan Bayh announced his decision not to seek re-election to his senior staff the same day:

Bayh made the decision not to run on Friday, telling a small group of senior staff, but he did not tell President Obama or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid until today.

His aides say he had been struggling with the decision for months, but Democrats in the Senate seemed to have no clue. Many said his decision caught them completely by surprise.

Josh Marshall says Senator Bayh’s team was in re-elect mode last week, and not just going through the motions:

What seems very odd about this is that Bayh and his political team were making active preparations for a run as recently as mid-late last week. And not just the kind of public, optics stuff that you need to be sure to do to keep your options open. We’re looking into it.

Dick Armey, Quitter

3:47 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Famous former House majority leader not-married-to-Joan-Walsh and astroturfer extraordinaire Dick Armey has left his position at lobby shop DLA Piper, saying he must make this sacrifice in order to work fulltime on blocking health care reform and to spare the lobbying firm the association with him.

“Despite some unfounded media suggestions attempting to link DLA Piper to FreedomWorks’ opposition to health care reform, the firm has not, on its own behalf, or on the behalf of any client, directly or indirectly opposed any of the pending health care reform bills,” [DLA Piper chairman] Burch said. “On the contrary, DLA Piper represents clients who support enactment of effective health care reform this year.”

Armey told POLITICO he intends to counter misinformation about FreedomWorks’ role in the health care protests and said there have been no disruptions of any town hall meetings where his group has helped organize participants.

And Dick Armey has a new word to describe the organized-from-K-Street astroturf operation Freedom Works is leading:

Rather, he said, opposition over the prospect of government-run health care is organic.

“I’ve rarely seen this much anger and frustration at town hall meetings. We’re going to continue to raise questions about what is appropriate to public policy when liberties are threatened.”

Hope you’ve got some organic popcorn in the cupboard for Dick Armey’s appearance with Dancin’ Dave on Meet The Press with guest Rachel Maddow.