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Republican Lobbyists on the Rise in Washington

Many groups offer options for monitoring the activities of lobbyists.
Many groups offer options for monitoring the activities of lobbyists.

As President Bush settles into his second term, a crowd of Republicans is spinning through Washington's "revolving door," leaving government positions to work as lobbyists. There is no similar surge of new jobs for Democratic lobbyists -- and Republicans are striving to consolidate their hold on Washington's infrastructure.

One example of that trend is Lundquist, Nethercutt and Griles, a lobbyist group with strongly GOP principals: Andrew Lundquist, who in 2001 ran Vice President Dick Cheney's energy policy task force; Rep. George Nethercutt, who unseated Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley in 1994; and Steven Griles, who until last month was the No. 2 official at the Interior Department.

The recent focus on lobbying has shown up in groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, which monitors how much a lobbyist contributes -- and to which political party.

Another part of that effort is the K Street Project, named for the Washington street where lobby firms tend to settle, between the Capitol and the White House. Through it, conservatives hope to persuade trade associations and corporations to hire only GOP lobbyists.

Democratic lobbyists are not exactly wandering the streets in hunger, however. In interviews, some point out that even well connected Republican firms would need to partner with a Democrat in some cases.

That's because even now, not every issue is partisan. Conflicts over regions, or industries, for instance, often cut across party lines. Those are the kinds of conflicts that bring leverage -- and job security -- to Washington lobbyists.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

United States & World Morning Edition
Peter Overby has covered Washington power, money, and influence since a foresighted NPR editor created the beat in 1994.