Street Talk: Lobbyists Focus On Tea Leaves

Kate Ackley
Roll Call
May 7, 2012

DLA Piper hosted an elegant two-course breakfast briefing at the Willard InterContinental last week. The audience was a collection of clients, Hill aides, lawyers, diplomats and reporters. The fare was unabashedly political.

And that was the point.

The event featured former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and ex-Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), who work at DLA, analyzing the presidential and Congressional elections with Purple Strategies founders Alex Castellanos and Steve McMahon. It was simply a more polished and public version of what other K Street firms are doing privately for the interests they represent.

Handicapping races and dispensing other political wisdom helps a firm’s clients figure out how to dole out campaign donations and position for legislative victories after Election Day. But it can sometimes put K Streeters in the position of making recommendations that conflict with what their own parties may want.

“I’m trying to give them an unbiased take. It affects my job,” said defense lobbyist Michael Herson, who runs American Defense International (ADI). “I can’t look at the Hill with rose-colored glasses.”

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