US Chamber dips to second place in K Street spending

The advocacy group for retirees, AARP, had not been a top 10 spender recently, but it increased its outlay on federal lobbying to $15.9 million in 2022 as it pushed for legislation that now allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and caps prices for insulin. Still, it’s nowhere near AARP’s lobbying tabs from the mid-aughts — for example, when it spent $36.3 million in 2005, the year President George W. Bush outlined a plan to privatize Social Security. 

Last year’s Medicare prescription drug changes were viewed as a win for AARP and a big loss for PhRMA, which spent $28.3 million on federal lobbying, a slight decrease from what it spent in 2021, $29.6 million. 

Growth at top firms

Some of K Street’s biggest firms, which represent multiple clients, posted gains in 2022, defying some expectations of an election year slump. 

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, the biggest lobbying practice as measured by LDA revenue, said it had reported a total of $61.6 million in lobbying fees from hundreds of clients last year, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That was a nearly 10 percent increase from its total the previous year. 

Nadeam Elshami, once an aide to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who co-chairs Brownstein’s lobbying practice, credited the uptick in lobbying revenue to the firm’s bipartisan team that “has access to House and Senate leadership, both sides of the aisle, leaders of committees, rank and file members and to the administration and on a variety of issues.” He noted the firm last year hired Will Dunham, a top aide to current Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who like Pelosi is from California.  

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