Why the nation’s largest lobbying firm just settled

Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on business news with a focus on Washington.

Bogged down no longer: Lobbying giant Patton Boggs has agreed to pay $15 million to Chevron to settle a long-running legal battle over toxic drilling waste pits in Ecuador. On the surface, it’s a stunning setback for the nation’s leading lobbying firm, but the settlement also frees up the company to move forward with its ongoing merger discussions. (WP)

Rocky road ahead? Historically, customer satisfaction slumps temporarily after companies in the service industry, including utilities and cable providers, merge with another. That doesn’t bode very well for Pepco’s customers. (CAPBIZ)

Spoiling the party: Michael Caplin, executive director of the Tysons Partnership, is throwing quite a party next month to showcase the new Metro-accessible Tysons Corner. Problem is, Tysons Corner still isn’t Metro-accessible. (CAPBIZ)

Old Bay booming: Marylanders will put Old Bay Seasoning, a Chesapeake region specialty, on just about everything. And according to Google search data, the rest of the country is starting to take a liking to the state’s special blend of spices. (WP)

Union plans: Edens Realty., the developer behind Union Market, has submitted plans to overhaul a nearby development on Fourth Street, looking to add more than 500 residential units and nearly 40,000 square feet of new retail space. (WBJ)

Base wage dilemma: Republican lawmakers and Defense Department officials say a mandatory wage increase for workers on federal contracts could drive food establishments away from military bases – and in the process, eliminate the thousands of jobs they provide. (WP)

Chamber cranks up: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching ad campaigns in 10 competitive House races and two Senate campaigns to help candidates that the nation’s largest business lobbying group see as pro-business. (AP)

Surprise package: FedEx plans to raise prices on more than a third of its ground shipments, shifting from a price-per-weight to price-per-size system for many packages. Experts say the move could have major repercussions for online shoppers. (WSJ)

Staying low: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the job market remains “far from satisfactory” and inflation is still too low. Consequently, you can expect to see low borrowing rates continued for a “considerable time.” (AP)

On Wall Street

Stocks rebounded from a morning slump to finish mostly higher on Tuesday. The Nasdaq Composite was the lone exception, dragged lower by stumbles from several prominent technology companies. (Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

Unemployment claims report (8:30 a.m.)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s remarks (9:30 a.m.)

Alexandria Small Business Development Center event for new federal contractors (9 a.m.)

Mason Enterprise Center’s entrepreneurship forum (11 a.m.)

Dupont Business Link business growth session (11:30 a.m.)

Help: Signs that you’re an entrepreneur stuck in a large company (YFS)

Follow: Aaron Saunders, CEO of Clearly Innovative in Washington

Extra: A first look at (but no riding) Metro’s snazzy new train. (WP)

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he manages the Post's On Small Business blog.
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