The recession skipped K Street. The firms along Washington's traditional lobbyists' row have continued to expand despite the nation's economic woes. In fact, because of them sweeping legislative fights over health care, financial reform, energy, climate change and defense have spurred companies to spend to defend their turf. "It's the kind of expansion that any industry would have envied during that very dark period," says Dave Levinthal, editor of OpenSecrets.org a blog of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks lobbying.
Now that many of those battles are over or are on hold, it's tempting to think lobbying dollars will shrink. Don't bet on it. At a time of budget cuts, the competition for federal money is intensifying. And as traditional Washington spenders recede, new ones pop up. In March, Facebook moved its 10 D.C. staffers into a sprawling office near the White House. It has hired a trove of experienced Washington hands and is reportedly courting the President's former spokesman, Robert Gibbs.