The economy may be looking browbeaten these days, but at least one sector is still thriving: the lobbying industry. According to this week's report by The Hill , last year, the 25 biggest lobbyist firms reported across-the-board increases in revenue--a 9% jump. Topping the charts was Patton Boggs, which broke new earnings records at $42.7 million.
"2006 was the worst time," Van Scoyoc and Cassidy CEO Gregg Hartley explained to Roll Call  yesterday: "With so much controversy, a lot of people were backing off the playing field." Yet now, says Hartley, the new lobbyist rules are clear. "This has been a good year, and we would anticipate that appropriations will always be a good, strong, healthy part of our business," he says.
(So far not for everyone, though. In a rather embarrassing move for the lobbying industry--which likes to preserve the delicate appearance of not wielding direct influence over Congress--the National Association of Home Builders recently announced  it was freezing its PAC contributions to lawmakers until they came to the aid of the housing sector.)