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For Lobbyists, the $65 Million List

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, March 17, 2005; Page A23

In case there was any doubt that lobbying Congress and the administration is big business, now comes "the Influence 50," the law firms and lobby shops that brought in the most lobbying bucks in 2004.

At the top of the Influence 50, a report of Influence, the online publication of Legal Times about the lobby biz, is the law firm of Patton Boggs, at $65.8 million in gross lobbying revenue, up 13 percent from 2003 ($58 million).

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The next three on the list are also law firms: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, $64.2 million; Hogan & Hartson, $51.6 million; and DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, $42.4 million. No. 5 is the lobby shop Cassidy & Associates, at $28.9 million.

The cutoff for the top 50 was $6.7 million. The figures are "informed estimates," Influence said.

The Rising Value of China

The growing economic power and commercial markets of China are attracting Washington's government relations and public affairs specialists to help companies do business there.

Yesterday, Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick announced its entry into the China market, offering, according to a company statement, "services to clients at the intersection of strategic business planning and government decision-making."

"There's really a market for government affairs there," Jody Powell said, though not what folks here would think of as hard-core lobbying.

The head of the China office is Ning Shao, who Weber Shandwick said led its team on the "global communication campaign supporting Shanghai's successful bid for the World Expo 2010."

Stonebridge International, former Clinton national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger's consulting firm, touted the establishment of Stonebridge China. Stonebridge raided MBP Consulting -- the law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw's China consulting subsidiary -- hiring Deborah M. Lehr to head its new venture, as well as Jin Ligang and Leigh Wedell, among others.

Lehr, speaking in a telephone interview from Beijing, said her team helps companies understand how to do business in China, deal with the government and find business partners.

Mayer Brown's Peter Scher said his firm is "aggressively continuing" its work in China and yesterday announced that MBP Consulting has formed a "strategic partnership" with public relations/public affairs company Fleishman-Hillard to provide public affairs support and consulting to clients wanting to do business throughout China.

Claiming a Piece of the Hill

Jenkins Hill is the official name of the site of the Capitol, although who Mr. Jenkins is not altogether clear. Seemed like a matter of time, however, that some lobby shop or another would adopt the name.

And so they did. Jeff Walter, Brad Edwards and Scott Barnhart yesterday announced their new public affairs firm, Jenkins Hill Group.

Walter and Edwards had been working together as the Walter/Edwards Group. Walter earlier served several Republicans on the Hill, including then-Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.). Edwards worked for the United States Telecom Association, among other trade groups, and earlier for then-Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).

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