December 15, 2019

Speaker transition doesn’t put K Street Off-Kilter

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ST. PAUL, MN - SEPTEMBER 01:  U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks on day one of the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center September 1, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The GOP will nominate U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as the Republican choice for U.S. President on the last day of the convention.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ST. , MN – SEPTEMBER 01: U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks on day one of the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center September 1, 2008 in St. , Minnesota. The GOP will nominate U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as the Republican choice for U.S. President on the last day of the convention. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Katelyn Polantz, From Legal Times
It’s steady as she goes around K Street despite the surprise resignation of House Speaker John Boehner from Congress.
Several lobbyists and law firm leaders Friday afternoon indicated they’re already thinking through a transition of power to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Others said they felt unaffected by leadership turmoil.
“As a group, as a business community, lobby shops are about as flexible and pragmatic a bunch as you’ll find,” said , a Bracewell & Giuliani partner and lobbyist. “They’ll forge alliances to whatever leadership structure emerges.”
Generally, lobby shops and law firms brace themselves for sudden changes in Congress by diversifying their practices and the talent they hire. The groups then sell broad, multiyear plans for corporate clients’ legislative strategy. And even the short-term sticking points that Congress faces remain the same with or without Boehner, such as whether a continuing resolution for the federal budget will pass in time to avoid a government shutdown next week.
Still, lobbyists say they’ll watch closely the transfer of power from Boehner to his successor. Segal said Boehner “had a lot of friends downtown and on the other side of the aisle”—a classic Washington figure known for the restaurants he frequents (like Morton’s Steakhouse downtown), the glasses of wine he drinks (red), and his coterie of friends (including some in lobbying).
“I think that most successful lobbying firms in Washington had some connection to the speaker’s office and were able to get their points across. The speaker did not create a high wall around his office that made it difficult to speak to him,” Segal said.
Already, McCarthy, Boehner’s most likely successor as of Friday, has exhibited some of the same networking ability.
Robert Smith II, head of Venable’s lobbying practice, said he noticed a wave of emails from fundraiser organizers Friday touting upcoming appearances by McCarthy. To Smith, the emails indicate an excitement for advocates to meet the potential House chief.
This is Washington, after all, land of the glad-hand.
A number of lobby shops and law firms have touted connections to Boehner’s office in recent months. , for instance, was a major hire for Squire Patton Boggs in December during their postmerger rebuilding year. The senior policy adviser spent 21 years working for Boehner. He did not respond to requests for comment Friday. Still, lobbyists like Schnittger aren’t isolated in the larger organization, which is one of Washington’s top lobbying businesses by revenue.
With McCarthy, Congress is “going to be the same movie with a different leading actor,” said Stewart Verdery of Monument Policy Group. “We are looking to see if there are breakthroughs to be had with personal connections.”
IMAGE: Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images via iStockphoto.com
For more on this story go to: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/legaltimes/id=1202738240057/Speaker-Transition-Doesnt-Put-K-Street-OffKilter#ixzz3n2pbORqC

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