With Trump’s Electiоn, a Bоnanza Fоr Washingtоn Lоbbуists

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The former lawmakers Trent Lott, far right, and Jack Kingston, left, work for Squire Patton Boggs, a Washington lobbying firm.

T.J. Kirkpatrick for Newspaper Post

WASHINGTON — Trent Lott, the former Republican senator from Mississippi, had gleefully flown back from Florida, where he had been working for the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Now a powerful lobbyist, his phone had been buzzing nonstop and he was busy helping to organize a briefing Thursday morning for dozens of corporate clients.

He was not alone. The stunning surprise of the election, and the political chaos it created, is a boon for Washington’s lobbying corridor known as K Street.

Corporate America is both excited and anxious about the prospect of Mr. Trump’s presidency, seeing great opportunity to shape the agenda after an extended period of frustration over gridlock in Congress.

With Republicans poised to control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Lott said he had not seen such a chance to help clients since he left the Senate in 2007 — whether by making changes to the federal tax code for Amazon or increasing military spending on new ships for Huntington Ingalls Industries.

“Trump has pledged to change things in Washington — about draining the swamp,” said Mr. Lott, who now works at Squire Patton Boggs, a law and lobbying firm. “He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp — how do you get in and how you get out? We are prepared to help do that.”

Across Washington, lobbyists and trade association executives were busy reviewing their priorities, which include repealing financial regulations instituted during the Obama administration, pushing for cuts in corporate taxes, overhauling President Obama’s signature health care plan and spending billions on roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

“On these significant issues, now that you have one party controlling the executive branch and the legislature, it is more likely they will be addressed,” said Marc S. Lampkin, managing partner of the lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, whose roster of more than 135 clients includes the drug maker AbbVie and the insurance company Zurich Financial Services.

Marc S. Lampkin, managing partner of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a Washington lobbying firm.

T.J. Kirkpatrick for Newspaper Post

Mr. Lampkin, a former Republican aide on Capitol Hill, had fielded so many phone calls on Wednesday from his clients that his voice had turned raspy with fatigue. “There is a lot of pent-up demand to break the gridlock in Washington,” he said.

Prominent Washington lobbyists also said that Mr. Trump would arrive in the capital with a much smaller contingent of veteran policy advisers than Hillary Clinton would have brought — and they see that relative inexperience as an opening. So they are prepared to draft legislation and regulations to quietly pass to allies on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

It is an opportunity that comes after a period of decline in lobbying revenues for many major firms. Total lobbying spending in Washington, after climbing consistently for nearly two decades began to dip in 2011, as congressional action slowed with divided government.

“Trump’s management style and policy approach to the campaign implies he is going to set big broad ‘beautiful’ direction and the elected lawmakers will take significant cuts at trying to flesh it out and reflect his will,” said Bruce P. Mehlman, the founder of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, which has more than 70 clients ranging from Adobe, the software company, to Walmart.

Lobbyists will also be leveraging their relationships. Mr. Lott, for example, noted his longstanding friendship with Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, whose name has been mentioned as a possible secretary of defense, as well as his former aides like Rick Dearborn, a senior policy adviser to Mr. Trump, and David Hoppe, the chief of staff to Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

“There are going to be a lot of companies and people looking for guidance in how to deal with the legislative and executive branch,” Mr. Lott said. “I am looking forward to it.”

Republicans have pledged, if necessary, to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act or to pass changes in tax code using a process known as reconciliation that requires only a simple majority and not the 60 votes typically required for contentious matters, making the pitch for lobbyists somewhat easier.

But Democrats will be needed for many measures, particularly in the Senate, which is why Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist, said he was not worried about potential losses of clients.

Bruce P. Mehlman, the founder of Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, whose clients include the software company Adobe and Walmart.

T.J. Kirkpatrick for Newspaper Post

“It is never good when you don’t control the administration or either body of Congress,” he said, having just returned from New York, where he went to what he had expected to be Mrs. Clinton’s victory party. “But as long as you have 60-vote thresholds in the Senate, you need members of the other party.”

Bruce Josten, the chief lobbyist at the United States Chamber of Commerce, said he had already been in communication with members of Mr. Trump’s transition team, as the chamber pushes its priorities like securing approval for the Keystone Pipeline, the oil pipeline project blocked by the Obama administration, or reopening more federal lands to oil and gas exploration.

“It is going to be nice to get back on game,” Mr. Josten said, who has spent 22 years running the government relations division at the United States Chamber, the nation’s single biggest spender on lobbying.

The chamber already knows there are certain items Mr. Trump has said he will not support, like the current versions of trade deals with Asia or comprehensive changes in the nation’s immigration laws, which the chamber pushed during Mr. Obama’s tenure. But there are aspects of each of these plans, like increasing the number of visas for highly skilled foreign workers, that Mr. Josten said he expects Mr. Trump to endorse.

Wall Street banks also will have to approach the Trump administration carefully — as Mr. Trump won the election in part by criticizing Mrs. Clinton’s ties to players there. But financial service lobbyists are eager to get moving.

People are rapidly “putting together lists of outdated, ineffective regulations that can be reversed by executive order or, if necessary, legislation,” said Sam K. Geduldig from CGCN Group, which has numerous financial sector clients. “This is their opportunity to undo regulations that have been shackling them.”

The first year of any new administration is traditionally a productive period. The challenge is for the corporate consultants to get their wish list included in the rush of action.

“The plate of issues that will be actively considered will be much larger in 2017 than we have seen in many years,” said Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, who works at BGR Group, a lobbying and public relations firm. “That will help a lot of companies and interests that have been waiting for a long time to be heard.”


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