Monday, December 28, 2009

next week it begins

Ok, so the legislature starts next week. Now, I've managed to put away a few Old Style's over the holiday's and I'm always one to enjoy the joy of the season, but I'm ready to get this started.

Indiana is going to have a projected budget shortfall of $1.8b over the next budget cycle. That doesn't necessarily mean much to folks in California or New York, but right now, we only have a surplus of $1b. That means my clients could be on the hook through new taxes and fees. What I was expecting to be a nice, quiet, low-key session, is going to be one that could evolve into a special session to find new funds.

The four clients remain only insurance clients. I have a dinner the first night of session with the two Insurance Chairmen and the Insurance Commissioner, and a client, and a non-client. Should be interesting. The cool thing about the dinner as I don't believe the House and Senate Insurance Chairmen have ever been together at a dinner. Both are wonderful guys, I like them very much personally, and they come at issues from different perspectives. I think the best part of the dinner would be for them to find some common ground (one is a Republican and one is a Democrat). We shall see.

So another thing I'm figuring out is that a one-person firm isn't as fun when you have all of these reports you need to fill out. Fortunately, I have an accountant to help with all the financial stuff, but lobbyists have annual registrations with the state lobbying regulatory agency and then we have semi-annual reports to show how much money we spent. I know that doesn't seem much, but since I did two of the three reports over the last month or so, it's just a timely annoyance.

January 5 the fun begins.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Client #4

Well, I picked up client number four last week. How cool is that?! Just when I think I'm perfectly content, I get another good client. Now, I know that one of my clients has hired me to help them get a contract with the state (an executive branch contract), so if they don't get that, then I assume they'll discontinue our contract, but I think they've got a shot, so I hope they'll continue a contract after it is awarded.

Revenue is good and is a good balance between the clients. I think I probably need another one or two to have a better fiscal balance (not being overly dependent on any one contract), but I'm really looking forward to this year's session of the Indiana General Assembly (partly because it's probably only going to be two months long)!

I do want to pursue slow growth with my client list. I think going into this year's session with four clients is probably a perfect number. I don't want to over-promise to my clients. So, if things go well enough this year with four, I can see how much capacity I have for the 2011 session.

Anyway, things are awesome!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to become a lobbyist pt. 2

Well, apparently, there are many who are much more effective at finding things on the web than I am. Somehow, I'm getting about one or two emails a week from young folks considering government affairs/lobbying as a possible career option.

I absolutely love these inquiries. To find younger folks interested in politics is really quite refreshing. I answer alot of the basic questions for them (what should I study, where should I look for internships, etc.), but one thing I always try and point out is to speak to lobbyists near them.

I'm a state lobbyist in Indiana. So if there is a student at Purdue, ISU, Ball State, etc., I am probably a perfect resource, but in the last week, I've gotten inquiries from California and North Carolina. I make it a point to offer the students some local lobbyists with whom to speak since I don't have a clue what it's like to lobby in those states.

I guess the purpose of this posting is to simply say: keep the inquiries coming. I love answering questions, and I love finding local lobbyists for young folks to speak with. Getting your foot in the door in politics isn't easy unless your family has a recognizable name in your state/community. If you don't have a recognizable name (I didn't), you have to work that much harder to prove yourself. Most young people aren't issue experts, so they get ahead early in politics by knowing the right people. Start internships and relationship building as soon and as as often as possible.

Sorry, kind of a rambling post, but I mostly just wanted to encourage young people looking into this career to start talking with folks locally asap.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Client National Convention

So my newest client asked me to attend their national conference in Orlando this past weekend. Sounds pretty sweet, right? This was the second worst event I've ever been to. The first was a National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) event in the Florida Keys.

They had this big bank of windows along the east wall of the conference hall where the meetings took place. About every five minutes or so, a big fishing boat (or pleasure boat) would sail by, and I'd hear someone in the background droning on about some insurance issue....pure hell.

This time, I was within 10 minutes of the happiest place on earth (unless you were to get stuck on whatever that ride is with the song "it's a small world" what happened to us the last time the missuz and I went. That's another kind of pure hell. I digress...

So this meeting was in this massive hotel in Orlando, and it went from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Don't get me wrong, there were some great speakers and agenda items, I'm just saying: Don't hold something like this in Florida. Hold it in Iowa or something (no offense to anyone in Iowa).

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hey...who's running this show?!

Next week a client is coming in town and has asked me to set up various meetings. One of the meetings they asked me to set up was with a powerful legislator from the opposite party. I don't believe in trying to pretend I'm something that I'm not, so when the client asked me to work on setting up the meeting, I said I'd be happy to do so, but it's a difficult meeting to arrange for even those who are this legislator's friends, and I'm not one who falls in that category.

I just feel like I need to be honest and up-front with the client, even if it ultimately means they go to another firm. I'm not going to promise anything I can't deliver or pretend I'm someone with every important relationship in the Statehouse. I suppose that could be one advantage of having a larger firm, but I continue to believe there are trade-offs for big firm versus little firm.

In any event, apparently my client called someone else and got the meeting set up. I feel kind of awkward about the whole thing, but it's not that I don't have relationships on the other side of the aisle, it's just that I didn't have this one. So here they are, this out-of-state company who has relationships in our fair state and can get meetings done that I can't. Well, I think I could've eventually gotten the meeting, but I probably would've needed more lead time.

Oh, and I don't think I mentioned it previously, but I picked up another client last week. I'm not up to three clients. Woo-hoo! Sure was not fun at the beginning of the year, since there were a couple of companies who said they wanted to hire me, but then backed out once I actually made the leap on my own.

In fact, one of those companies still calls me to help them with stuff, but I believe those days of free lunches are officially over. I could probably hold a grudge at a few folks, but why bother. My business is growing and I couldn't be happier...until I pick up another client!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

in-house versus hired guns

I had dinner with a friend last night who mentioned an acquaintance that is leaving his private practice to join a corporate government affairs shop. Maybe it's just what I've seen in the insurance government affairs world, but it seems like corporate government affairs would be my last choice of employment options.

When corporate leadership changes, the government affairs folks may not be as necessary to the new leadership. The new leaders may want to bring in their own folks, or there may just be compatibility issues. I've also seen mergers and acquisitions where the new owner already has a government affairs shop which then leads to job cuts.

I suppose there are benefits (literally and figuratively) why folks would want to work in a corporate shop, but my personal opinion that is if you can do well enough financially, that should be a last option.

Just my opinion.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Work week

It's funny. I had lunch with the missuz yesterday and I ran into a couple of friends on my way in to her office. Both asked me what I do during the week. It's funny. Honestly, the work week out of session involves some work for the clients, but it's obviously not nearly as busy as when the legislature is in session. This experience has made it awfully difficult for me to imagine going to sit in an office and gazing into a computer monitor for 9 hours a day.

I remember at a previous job the boss was pretty strict about the work day. You were to be in the office by the starting time and you weren't to leave before the official end of the day. In fact, I was approached at one point for leaving right at the end of the work day (even though I always arrived early). Apparently I was to hang around a little after the official end-point of the work day. I never really understood that. I would sit there at the end of the day and piddle around. If you have work due...of course you stick around and get it done. I'm also not saying that there isn't value in a normal work schedule, but good grief!

I love getting things done for my clients. And I like doing it at 4 a.m. when I wake up, or 3 in the afternoon after going to the grocery store or whatever. Mostly, however, I love not having to stare at my computer screen all day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Client visit

So a client is in town this week. Pretty good so far. They are interested in meeting with different folks around the state and I'm responsible for getting the meetings set up. It still continues to amaze me that I get to do this for a living. I absolutely love what I'm doing and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

I have another client interview at the end of the month, then a nice weekend of camping and fishing with some friends right after the interview. Picking up this additional client would be swell as it fits in with my area of expertise (should I put expertise in quotes?).

In any event, other than the long overdue heat, things are going well...just not much to update during the summer months. Summer study committees start next month.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

it's been a while

Ok, so the summer is here and it's been pretty quiet. So what does a self-employed lobbyist do during the off-months?

I've been having a few meetings with legislators for clients, meeting with potential new clients, meeting with staff and other interested parties.

Since Indiana's session of the General Assembly doesn't start again until January, it's really about setting things up for next year at this point. Since we had a special session that lasted until the end of June, I've pretty much been staying out of legislators hair. However, this week, I've started setting meetings up for August & beyond.

Legislators are regular folks (for the most part). They want to have some down time as well. I've also found that when you do want to visit with them, they appreciate it when you take the time to go visit with them in their districts.

So I'll be putting a few miles on the Tacoma over the next few months as summer morphs into fall.

If anyone stumbles across this blog and has questions, feel free to drop me a note ( and I'll respond to your inquiry.

Summer sure is swell, but I'm looking forward to ramping up again for next year.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

unrelated posting

Ok, not directly related to lobbying, but I just thought I'd like to say it publicly. Last year, when there were massive floods and mother nature's wrath in Indiana, I was fortunate enough to volunteer at disaster recovery sites throughout the state. I saw the good and the bad in people, but I wanted to take this platform to just say that if someone is considering a donation to either the Red Cross or the Salvation Army, my strong feelings are that the salvation army is the better of the two.

I'm not affiliated in any way, shape or form with either group, but I saw them in action. The reason I say the Salvation Army is the better of the two is simply that they were local residents volunteering their time, while the Red Cross workers were all flown in to work at the sites. Admittedly, both were doing positive things for the communities, but it just doesn't seem to make ANY financial sense for a charitable organization to fly people in from around the country, put them up in hotels, and give them stipends, when you have people locally who can do the same thing. Taking it even a step further, the Red Cross also did the same thing for college students to help unload their trucks, planes, etc. Rather than hiring local kids, the Red Cross spent funds on flying people in.

I know it's trivial and definitely not related to lobbying, but I just was reminded of the two groups and needed to put this out there for anyone that stumbles upon this article.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

off season

So while Indiana's legislature is going into special session for the budget (I am eating my words from an earlier post this year noting how Indiana generally doesn't go into special session), this is generally the down time for lobbyists in state's with part-time legislatures. So what does a lobbyist do when the legislators aren't around? Prepare for next year.

Legislative advocacy rarely results in solutions for clients right away. Generally, the legislature takes a year or two (or more) to get a feel for the issue. So the summer months are spent talking to key legislators for your issues that didn't pass during the previous session. I've found that legislators appreciate it when you visit them in their districts. It's like you're making an extra effort to show how important they are to you. Sounds a little silly, but it's almost always the case in my experience. There is a balance though.

Most legislators like their time away from the Statehouse and don't want to have lobbyists harassing them all the time. So the trick is to make sure you show a special effort, but you're not hounding them.

When you're not meeting with legislators and clients, there are numerous fundraisers and study committee meetings of interest. Obviously the fundraisers and study committees are at your discretion (I generally despise fundraisers), but they are a part of the job.

WIth all that being said, the off-session months are a little bit like being an accountant from May to December. There's still plenty to do, but it's at a pretty relaxed and self-driven pace.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Julia may be gone, but...

the public is still being asked to support she and her family. Good grief. I think my contribution probably got lost in the mail.

Family remembers Julia Carson on Mother's Day
Updated: May 10, 2009 10:28 PM

Julia Carson's family remembered her Sunday at Crown Hill Cemetery.

A new monument is dedicated to Carson's memory.

Carson's signature is carved on the monument.
Cat Andersen/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A woman known as a political giant was remembered Sunday as a mother.

Congresswoman Julia Carson's family visited her gravesite at Crown Hill Cemetery with a gift - a custom-made monument.

"What'll grab you first is the heart that says 'We Love Julia'," said her grandson, Sam Carson, Jr. "That is her trademark."

"She is a loss. A void that can never be replaced in the family or in the community. She's an original," said .

"She was the kind of nurturing figure that was so necesary in this community," said her grandson Andre Carson, who holds his grandmother's seat in Congress.

Her family says the basis of Carson's political platform started in the home. They say she wrote the book on "kitchen table issues" before the term became political jargon.

"Every second was a sermon. It's amazing. You'll talk to her and she'll pause for a second to answer your question after careful thought and it'll be something you hold with you for the rest of your life," Sam Carson, Jr. said.

"She would always say, 'Keep your eye on the prize'," said Andre Carson. "It sounded so hokey at the time, but what a great piece of advice. Keep your eye on the prize despite distraction, despite demands, despite criticism, keep your eye on the prize in that the people of the 7th Congressional district are represented."

"She had a saying, 'If you ever look down on a person, extend a hand and pull them up," said her son, Sam Carson, Sr.

Her family says even when she went to Washington, Carson never stopped being a mother.

"She was a person that always spoke her mind," said Sam Carson, Jr. said. "She had a unique personality that would humble the mot pompous person."

They say it was because Carson herself was so humble.

"She always said, 'I'm just Julia'," said Sam Carson, Jr.

Carson's family says she was just like any other mom on the block, she just happened to be the one that took an entire district under her wing.

The family is accepting donations to finish the monument. The Julia Carson Memorial Fund is set up at Old National Bank.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


last day. There are a couple of issues still remaining on the last day of Indiana's legislative session. Besides the budget, the main item would be the unemployment compensation fund. This is the fund every Indiana business pays into to compensate workers when they are laid off. A few years back, the business community and labor lobbyists got together and passed a tax decrease on business and benefit increase for laid-off workers. Well, as one can imagine, by cutting income and increasing expenditures, the fund is now in the red. Unfortunately, from what I can tell at this point, the legislative compromise seems to be centered on increasing costs on businesses rather than much cutting of benefits. The problem with that is that there are cases such as construction workers who don't work in the winter, but collect unemployment benefits. I'm of the opinion that the unemployment fund isn't meant to be a buffer or carry-over for those workers who take half the year off. If a construction worker can't work in the winter months, I suggest they budget for those lean months, or find a off-season job to help make up the shortage. The unemployment fund is for those who have been laid off, not those who are taking time off.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Week and a half to go

Indiana's session ends next week and it couldn't be soon enough. It's supposed to be in the 70's and 80's today through early next week. Spring is here, so let's get the legislators out of town and start enjoying some legislator-free time!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why political contributions are important

Today's installment deals with political contributions. Political giving is often portrayed as something shady done in the back rooms of some dark corner of the Statehouse. In reality, political contributions give groups and individuals the opportunity to state their case.

In my experience, most legislators/public officials want to get reelected. In order to get reelected, they need to campaign. Campaigns involve spending money on advertising (flyers, yard signs, tv/radio, etc.), staff expenses and miscellaneous expenses such as political and community events.

So when do lobbying groups give to a candidate or official (and by lobbying groups I mean lobbyists and those who hire lobbyists)? When there is a supportive candidate of that group's cause, or when the candidate's opponent is just offensive to that group.

My giving a $1,000 check to a legislator or candidate is likely going to mean that I can either take them to lunch or dinner and spend a little time talking about my issue with them. Of course there are other ways of doing it, but the legislator also sees it as a public declaration that my group supports him/her more than the other candidate. That is pretty important to most legislators. If I'm a candidate and I can say that I've received support from the Chamber of Commerce, IBEW, Farm Bureau (or insert your own group here), that plays well with individuals in the community.

My giving doesn't mean he or she will make every vote I make. It just means that I think he or she is more likely to support my issues or cause than others. Or it can also mean that I would like to begin developing a relationship with him or her because I think there is a possibility that I can work with them over a period of time and build a case for my issue.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Final push

So the 2009 session of the Indiana General Assembly is in the home stretch. There are about two weeks left of session for language to move. The final two weeks are for conference committees. Around the halls, it's called death watch.

Death watch is when groups monitor as many conference committees as possible to watch for sneaky insertions into bills and to make sure their sneaky insertions into bills go through. Obviously not every bill gets some new language, but I'd say most do.

It's always an exciting time as everyone knows the final push is happening. Legislators are tired of hearing from lobbyists and lobbyists are tired of talking to legislators. In all though, it's one of the most exciting times of the year.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Government intervention

It's never been my intention to use this blog for a particular issue (other than lobbying), but I think the most recent action taken in the name of "saving" GM is too much. The idea that the government/President can "ask" a CEO to step down is absolutely horrifying. I believe that goes beyond anything even remotely close to the founding principles of this nation.

I will hold my tongue on most any issue the President and Congress advocate as they were elected to do so. However, the prospect of Washington D.C. telling private industry who should be running their companies is shocking. If any citizen has more confidence in Washington D.C. running a private company than anyone else, they are either blinded by partisan enthusiasm or they are simply idiots.

Pardon my language, but I believe this (beyond everything else that has happened to this point in bailing out failed institutions) signals some VERY dark clouds on the horizon. I don't fear anything long-term at this point, but I don't believe this bodes well. Let's pray I'm wrong and I'll just get back to lobbying again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

republican form of government

One of the legislators I deal with more often than others is a long-time veteran of the statehouse. He is a great guy and we disagree on quite a few policy philosophies. However, I am an entranced observer to watch him in action. He is the Chairman of a committee I often attend, and I've gotten to know him pretty well over the last few years.

He approaches things in what I view the most appropriate manner: He asks how will a proposal impact his constituents first, then, what is the larger philosophical perspective and/or how does the proposal impact other groups. He isn't blinded by that perspective, but it's just the foundation for any consideration he makes. Obviously there are times where he votes for things that a majority of his district may not like, but that is the whole point of the republican (small "R") form of government. His job is to make decisions for his district.

Legislators have to make tough's their job. They aren't supposed to vote for the majority of their districts, they are supposed to vote based on how it impacts the whole. This legislator does that. I disagree with many of his votes, but at least he votes his conscience.

I've touched on this previously, but, in Indiana at least, many of the bigger votes are based on a caucus or leadership decision. On less controversial issues, legislators generally vote their conscience, but on the big issues, they generally have to go along with the group decision. There are positive and negative aspects to that approach, but generally I think that's a bad thing.

So when I come across a legislator who, even though I disagree with their votes sometimes, is willing to stand his/her ground, I have a great appreciation for them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

tough one

Today's request came from a young Brazilian gentleman who wants to lobby for his home country in DC. He has a pretty terrific academic background, so I suggested that since he already knows his economics, he might consider gaining some relationships and ties to DC as the next step in pursuing his dream.

I did a search on the U.S. Clerk of the House of Representatives site and found quite a few results for "Brazil" clients being represented in DC.

I still think it's really amazing to help some folks find their way into this field. Hopefully each of them will retain some awe of the process while they're in the game. When someone gets burned out, it's a shame. Government Affairs should be a calling for those with a passion, rather than a paycheck. Generally, I think that holds true for the majority of lobbyists, but when you see someone who has lost it, you just want to ask them why they still do it for a living...obviously it's probably because of the money, but maybe they will find a client or issue that will revive their spirits.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Half-way Point

Indiana's legislature is at the half-way point. Now I'm admittedly a little biased for my home state, but Indiana generally finishes on time and we still continue to have a surplus while other states debate what to cut.

There are little squabbles that pop up though. This week's installment of Statehouse Shenanigans involves a technicality that I can both understand and disagree with.

The Speaker of the House called a bill on third readings that was not on the calendar. The Minority Leader stood up and said that the Speaker could not do that and expressed outrage at his attempt to do so. Well, all that happened was that the House stopped for a few minutes while a new calendar was printed with the omitted bill added to the list.

In the end, I can understand the Minority Leader's position of following the rules, but he also surely recognized that the majority party could do exactly what happened (reprint the calendar, then vote on the bill). I think he could've been a bit more diplomatic and simply said that adding the bill was not appropriate, but in the spirit of good governance and expediency, the minority party will simply vote against the measure as expected.

Sometimes I just get pretty frustrated at the legislative leaders. The Speaker was wrong for not following protocol, but the Minority Leader was wrong for holding up the process unnecessarily.

I can't wait for the final push.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

finally testified

Yesterday, I finally testified on a bill...not bad since we're about six weeks into session!

"My" bill was first on the agenda, but was authored by the Committee Chairman. Other lobbyists working on the same bill and I had been told that our bill would be called first. Too bad that wasn't the case.

We got in there and the Chairman wanted to hear from an out-of-state group who had come in to make a presentation on a product/issue the Chairman thought was interesting. That took about 30 minutes (the meeting started at 9 a.m.). Next, the Chairman called on another Senator who was not on the Committee, but who was waiting in the audience to present his bill. Then, another Senator was called...and so on. You get the picture.

I don't recall exactly how many bills were on the agenda for the committee, but I think there were probably 8-10 bills. The meeting started at 9, but the Senate goes into session around 1 or 1:30 most days and they generally like to grab something to eat after committees, but before session. So you're basically talking about a three hour window.

Next week is pretty much the deadline for bills to be out of committee in their house of origin, so we're getting down to crunch time.

I don't mind waiting, but the debate on the animal cruelty bill revolving around whether killing/eating a fish from your neighbor's pond constituted the cruelty definition in the bill grew a bit frustrating, but that's what happens when most of the committee members are attorneys.

It's quite fascinating to watch. Maybe it's just an Indiana-phenomenon, but I doubt it. The attorney legislators like to come up with scenarios where the bill has problems. Generally speaking that is a great thing, but sometimes, I think they get caught up in the moment. I suppose there could be a situation where someone has a pet catfish in their backyard pond and a neighbor sneaks onto the property, catches the fish, then eats it...but after sitting through a few hours of debate, I couldn't help but chuckle at the whole thing.

Finally, the one other thing that amused me, was the facebook update by a lobbyist sitting right in front of me was how much they were displeased at sitting through another long committee meeting. I guess I wasn't the only one whose mind was drifting during the meeting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lobbyist Jobs

So occasionally, I get request from folks who are looking for lobbying jobs. While I don't have the time or know-how to keep up on every lobbying job site, here are a few I've come across:

On the websites, you can search for "lobbyist" or "government affairs", but generally, these are the best sites I've come across for folks.

Good luck on your search.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Know when to shut up

Pardon the blunt nature of that title, but I continue to be amazed at what I see at the Statehouse. So in today's committee meeting, there was a somewhat controversial bill being discussed in committee. I didn't have a dog in the fight, so I was just watching the show. Unfortunately, many of the legislators were not and I didn't blame them. In fact, at one point I turned on the "corners" app for my iphone (that's the little square that bounces around your screen and then you get a point when it hits in the exact corner)...yeah, that boring. So there were a couple of lobbyists who got up to wax eloquently. They weren't doing themselves any favors.

A good lobbyist must know when they need to drive home a point and when they need to gloss over content. Taking it to the heart of the matter, a good lobbyist knows the vote before the Committee even meets. If a lobbyist goes in to committee without knowing the outcome, then they haven't done their job, or it's one of those very rare occasions where it's a tough vote. But even in those tough-vote situations, there is such a thing as overkill.

When there are multiple lobbyists advocating the same position on a bill, the legislators don't enjoy duplicative testimony. I'm a strong believer in brevity. Obviously there are situations where the complexity of a proposal or concept warrants in-depth analysis and discussion, but in most cases, legislators have their minds made up before any testimony occurs. For those situations when they haven't, or it's a close vote, then try and be as brief as possible and summarize your testimony at the end...or don't look out into the audience or at the legislators when they're playing on their computers or cell phones.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Motivation for Involvement

So I got a note from a gal who is wanting to get involved in politics and wasn't sure whether to get involved by running for office or by trying to influence those in office...and it got me to thinking.

I guess I've been an Indiana lobbyist for about 10 years (give or take) and have noticed that there are essentially two types of people in politics: those in it for a cause or they are in it for themselves.

Personally, I'm involved because I believe in the insurance industry in Indiana. Don't get me wrong, I get paid more doing this than I could doing most anything else, but I feel like I'm a part of doing something good for my neighbors.

As a lobbyist, I get paid pretty well considering that mine is a job based on simply having a reasonable intelligence, but more importantly, being able to work with people. That reminds me of something. I saw a story a year or two ago saying that younger folks and kids now have less social interaction as they are on the computer and don't spend as much "active" time. I don't know whether or not that is the case, but I would agree that communicating via email and texting isn't the same thing as standing in front of someone, having a conversation and reading their facial and body expressions. A good lobbyist has at least a modest ability to gauge how to handle face-to-face communications.

So back to the main point of this note: reason for involvement. You see plenty of folks who are in it for all the wrong reasons, but I suppose any business sector is like that.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Client growth & conflicts

Last week, I got a phone call from a friend who mentioned a couple of issues that were circulating through the legislature that might present an opportunity for me to offer a group additional representation. (The group already has a lobbyist, but they are in a tough fight and could use more help).

Well, I called my ONE signed client to see if they objected to my advocating for this other issue and they said yes they would be opposed. Admittedly, their position is understandable and I don't write this as an statement on their objection, but rather to point out the fact that client conflicts are a part of the business.

I have made it a point with my little start-up firm to ask my existing client(s) if they oppose my taking on a new client. I just feel like if someone had enough faith in my services to pay me in the first place, then they will take priority over new clients. I want to keep clients for the long-run, not just blowing where the dollars go.

From my perspective, a good lobbyist is one who understands the issues impacting his/her clients, but also understands the company or group they represent. This takes time. Other clients without conflicts will come along.

So the site will be changing

After chatting with the programmer, we're going to change the look and feel of the website. The current site has limits in what it will allow us to add and amend. The new site should allow flexibility as we expand into federal and local lobbyists, service providers, unique state-focused pages and a few other items.

Not sure of the time frame, but I'd say changes will probably take a couple of weeks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


So I was in the Senate Insurance Committee this morning and there was a piece of legislation that came up that was a bad bill, but was pretty uneventful. Well, the Committee Chair had discussed the proposal with various parties and was told by the lobbyist representing the group primarily impacted by the proposal that they didn't mind it and wouldn't raise a fuss if the bill was heard.

Unfortunately, something must've happened between that original discussion and today's committee, because that lobbyist proceeded to get up and say how much their group opposed the proposal and that they were under the impression the bill wasn't going to be heard and just flat out didn't like it.

Now, I don't know if there will be any repercussions for that lobbyist's actions, but I just wanted to point that out as something that a lobbyist really shouldn't do. Telling a Committee Chairman that you have one position in private, then taking the exact opposite publicly probably won't endear you to that legislator (or their friends). I'll follow this one pretty closely.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Client meeting

So I've got a strategy meeting with my client today. Should be a pretty good meeting. We'll go over the piece of legislation they want. Fortunately, there are other interested parties and the bill is authored by the Committee chairman where the bill was assigned. Because of that fact, it's really about making sure the client's main interest points in the bill stay intact, and maybe see if there's other related language they'd like to try and insert.

The bill hasn't been scheduled yet, but I'll be meeting with the Committee Chairman on Thursday to discuss.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cult of arrogance

I generally don't pay attention to the news, but this morning, I was watching our local NBC affiliate and it had a story about Gov. Blagojevich's impeachment trial. The gal questioning him asked him what he thought when he heard the news of the charges. He said he thought of his children and his wife, then he thought of "Nelson Mandela and MLK to keep it in perspective". Holy cripes! You, Governor are being threatened with being removed from office due to an "alleged" abuse of power for selfish purposes. MLK & Mandela were arrested for selfless acts for a greater cause. What arrogance to even mention those leaders when describing what you're going through. I feel sympathy for your children and wife, but mostly I am amazed you made it as long as you did...

Friday, January 23, 2009


So last night, I went with a couple of fellas to the Butler University Basketball game. How refreshing. These guys weren't pro athletes, but they put on one of the best basketball games I've seen in quite a while. Watching a game at Hinkle Fieldhouse is exciting in, and of itself, but to watch players of that caliber play the way basketball was intended, was pretty swell.

I believe there may be been two dunks the entire night, but quite a bit of passing and ball movement. Nice outside shooting and aggressive inside play made it fun to watch. I will definitely be heading back.

The best part was some kid in the student section who was a bit overweight with a blue wig on who was just having a blast. He got to out during one of the timeouts and take three shots from half-court for a restaurant gift-certificate. The poor guy hit the rim all three times, but just couldn't sink one. I think it was the wig.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Revolving doors

Yesterday, the House Insurance Committee met. Pretty normal meeting. There were three bills. One of them was a mandate for hearing aids. A couple of people from the general public testified and all were respectful. One of the ladies was pretty fired up, but did a nice job.

The best part of the meeting came when former State Rep. Mike Ripley testified on a bill. He was a member of the committee last year and now serves as the health lobbyist for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He got a good-natured ribbing from his former committee and was all in good fun.

Regardless of one's feelings on "revolving doors", Mike is a great guy and will be a great lobbyist. The public are told by the media that revolving doors are a bad thing and imply that there is something wrong with the practice. I've been at the Indiana Statehouse for over 10 years and while I obviously can't say it's never happened, but I can say that I've never seen a former legislator be given preferential votes for his or her issue.

They may be friendly with their former colleagues and they may have a more revealing conversation with their former colleagues, but legislators will continue to vote their conscience (or their caucus directives) regardless of the advocacy of a former legislator. Just my two cents.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

how to pick a lobbyist

If you're looking for a lobbyist, here's my suggestions on picking the right one. Just like a college basketball coach probably wouldn't offer a scholarship to a player he's never seen play, if you have the time, make it a point to visit the Statehouse and watch the lobbyist in action. Every lobbyist has positive relationships with certain legislators and other lobbyists, but over the course of your visit, you'll be able to see the scope of their relationships.

Assuming not everyone has the time to visit every state where they have a lobbyist, then consider asking the lobbyist for a few contacts for their current clients. Ask those current clients how well and how often the lobbyist communicates with them. Ask them if the lobbyist has ever had great success or failure on key issues. Ask them if the lobbyist speaks ill of others and who those others are...since a good lobbyist treats all with respect and professional courtesy. Ask those current clients how long they've worked with the lobbyist and if there are any suggestions on things to discuss before hiring the lobbyist.

Ask the lobbyist to provide you with the contact information for key legislators and regulators. Make it a point to check with other legislators and regulators than those provided by the lobbyist as well. Chances are, the lobbyist will provide you the contacts with whom they have good relationships. Say you're an insurance company and the lobbyist provides the contact for the ranking Democrat and a Republican on the committee. When you speak to those legislators, ask them if they could get you in touch with the committee chairperson and maybe another legislator on the committee they think is important. Do some digging on your own. Not every legislator likes every lobbyist (and vice versa), but a good lobbyist should be known to most legislators and be thought as a professional.

Not rocket science, I know, but the important thing is to spend some time and energy before selecting a lobbyist as it will save you work down the road of either repairing the damage done by a bad lobbyist, or by having to take time to look for a new lobbyist somewhere down the road.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Next begins!

So the House Insurance Committee will be meeting next week, and I'm quite excited to see what's happening. To be candid, I haven't been at the Statehouse yet this year since there was little happening until after the Presidential Inauguration anyway. It will be nice to see the usual suspects crammed into the teeny little committee room that is way too hot and way to packed for the issues being covered.

I'll check out the bills being heard later today and am pretty excited about this new chapter of my professional career. In the past, I've always had other people to lean on, but this year, it's just me. I know there are others around who will help and be interested in what's happening, but at the end of the day, it's my name on the client contracts.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday session day?

Me thinks something smells funny. Typically, the Indiana House of Representatives meets Monday through Thursday and gets outta Dodge by lunch on Thursday. However, this week, they aren't in today, but are coming in tomorrow. Since the House is controlled by Democrats and most of them would seem to be interested in attending the inauguration, I would wager that our President-elect is going to stop in Indiana tomorrow and journey east just like the former President he's trying to emulate. (Prior to his inauguration, President Lincoln gave a speech in Indianapolis on the south side of the Statehouse.) If my hunch is correct and Mr. President-elect is coming, let's see if he's willing to brave the cold.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


So this impending cold front made me think of another issue at the Statehouse. On days when it's cold like this, being in the halls as the Statehouse really isn't too bad. Sure, if there's snow you'll maybe find some slick spots or salt on the floors, but it's usually pretty nice.

However, since this is Indiana's long session and should probably go through late April, early May, the temperature inside the Statehouse isn't always so nice. I can remember a few occasions where it was just flat-out hot in the halls. When it's 60 or 70 degrees outside, you add in the body heat (and plenty of hot air) from a few hundred lobbyists, a few hundred onlookers from the general public, add a suit (and a few extra pounds from eating too much all session) and you get a pretty toasty atmosphere.

But life is good for the foreseeable future, so no worries.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sleepy & Smelly

I was quite excited one day to get to meet with two Senators to discuss an issue very important to the insurance industry. The meeting was set up for 1 p.m. in their caucus room (where all the Senators of that political party meet to discuss bills and positions).

So the meeting starts and I make small talk for a bit, but notice they were getting sleepy eyes so I transitioned over to the issue I wanted to discuss. Well, as soon as I started discussing the issue, they started to get really sleepy. Admittedly it wasn't a very exciting issue, so I tried to speed things up.

No kidding, not more than five minutes into my talk one of them was out cold and the other could barely keep his eyes open. I wish he had just zonked out too because next thing I know, he breaks wind. I watched his reaction, there was none, so I put on my best face, tried not to chuckle like an 8 year old and kept on. Then the smell hit me. Well, I wrapped up my talk about 30 seconds later and thanked them for their time. I made sure I made enough noise to wake the first Senator up and got the heck out of the room. (they ended up voting with the position I advocated).

first meeting

The first time I got sent out to meet with a legislator was one that could've sent me in the other direction. My boss told me to set up a lunch with a legislator to deliver a small ($250) PAC check. I set up the lunch and a short time later, met the legislator for a lunch.

The legislator was a solid supporter of the issues our group represented and was generally a pretty nice guy. He was one of only a handful of legislators who actually read every piece of legislation before he voted.

So at the lunch, I get into polite chit-chat, but I really didn't know the guy and wasn't quite sure how to act and what to say. I was young and aggressive, so I spent most of the time pressing him on our issues and watched him spill as much french onion soup on his chin as actually make it in his mouth.

However, by the end of the meal, I really appreciated the guy and thought while we didn't really share a whole lot in common, I respected the hell out of him for his dedication to the job and his patience for sitting through my blabbering on about the issues.

He passed away a couple of years ago and I often think of my first meeting with a legislator and wish there were a few more like him in Indiana's legislature.

So why dinners?

To folks outside the lobbying profession, they often suggest that by taking a legislator to dinner, the lobbyist or the legislator is doing something wrong. Just like a family sitting around the dinner table, it's often over a meal that some of the most productive conversations occur.

I've taken legislators to the finest restaurants and to McDonald's and the intent is the same regardless of where the meal occurs. By sitting down for an extended period of time face-to-face, you and the legislator are able to communicate more effectively than in the halls or in their offices where there are numerous distractions.

In all honestly, most of the time I spend with legislators isn't spent talking about my clients or the issues, it's spent just being social. A lobbyist who spends all of their time talking shop, will probably bore a legislator to death. Legislators hear from dozens of people all day long on their pet issues. Occasionally they want to talk about other stuff. Over a meal, you can cover a range of topics much more effectively.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Different types of lobbyists

There are different types of lobbyists. The biggest distinction is probably between those who are paid and those who are unpaid. Unpaid lobbyists are basically people who are interested in a particular bill or issue and who feel like they want to voice their opinion to the legislature. Paid lobbyists can be divided into two main categories as well: those who work for a specific association, company or cause and those who represent multiple clients. Association/Corporate lobbyists are those who focus almost exclusively on one issue or company. Multi-client lobbyists are lobbyists for hire. They are free-agents. Sometimes they are called hired-guns. Whatever you want to call them, these are the one's who usually draw the largest reaction from people, but since I am a hired-gun now, I wanted to make the case why we serve a valuable purpose.

Hired gun lobbyists are contracted due to their knowledge on an issue or their relationships. I don't view hired guns as bad for the legislative process. As indicated in an earlier posting, a lobbyist must retain credibility & integrity. A group can hire a lobbyist and the lobbyist could probably lie, cheat and steal their way to getting a bill passed, and while I've seen it happen, there are usually some pretty severe professional consequences for this approach and generally speaking, a lobbyist taking this route may find it "challenging" to advocate future causes (and that's putting it lightly).

Being a lobbyist doesn't mean you don't care about the issues you are being paid to advocate. It's all about choices. I could choose to lobby for groups and causes I don't care about, but I've just decided that I will lobby only for those groups and issues I can believe in. Call me crazy, but I think I will be most effective if I agree with the position I'm advocating. Some lobbyists can lobby for anything and be just fine for doing so, but I can't. It's just a personal preference. Hopefully a group that hires me will find ourselves up against a lobbyist who is just being paid to represent a cause they don't believe in!

I'm just a big fan of and this poster of theirs is the closest to a lobbying poster I can think of.

Male v. Female lobbyists

In another example of "the world just isn't fair sometimes", I raise the subject of male v. female lobbyists.

These are just my editorial comments, but they may be something to keep in mind if you're getting started in the lobbying world.

If you are new to the game, know that you are always being watched.  You are being watched by legislators, staff, other lobbyists and anyone else who happens to be around.  Men have it pretty easy.  We put on a suit and occasionally get a hair cut.  Women have much more to consider.

A young woman in politics will probably have to decide pretty quickly how she wants to handle the "creepy caucus" in any legislature.  It's kinda self explanatory, but basically there are legislators who look for young ladies around the capitol who they can hook up with.  

I don't think for one instant that this only happens in politics or even that this is more than the smallest minority in any given statehouse, but I still think it's a relevant point.  If you are a young woman, how you dress and how you carry yourself will impact your career well down the road.

My personal shock at this came one day when I asked to speak with a legislator.  He politely listened while I made my case and two young ladies were waiting to speak to him when I was done.  They were on opposing sides of each other on an issue and wanted this legislator to vote for their group.  As I was walking away, the legislator actually said "well, I don't know how I'm going to vote on this one, you ladies may have to strip down to your bra and panties and wrestle for my vote".  

I was shocked.  Just keep that in mind ladies...people are always watching.

completely unrelated to lobbying

ok, anyone who has a blog MUST get the "Ilike" music option found on the top right of this page.  You can set up any ten songs to appear on your blog.  How cool is that!  I highly recommend it, if for no other reason than you can listen to music you like while you're writing on your blog!

Indiana's '09 legislative session

Ok, so I spent six and half years as an insurance lobbyist for the Insurance Institute of Indiana (a trade association made up of about 25-30 insurance companies).  For the most of the time I was there, there were at least two or three other lobbyists working for the group at any one time.  

I left there to work for a state agency (Indiana Economic Development Corporation) for about three years.  I was our legislative director, but also worked to encourage insurance companies to expand and initiate their workforce in Indiana.

In both instances, I was part of a larger team...not this year.  I left the state job in December and have set up my own lobbying firm.  One client is firmed up, two more are possibilities, but it's been a pretty big leap of faith and it's pretty terrifying, but exhilarating at the same time.

Advice for new lobbyists

If you're new to lobbying and want some good advice, the best advice I got was this:  get a good pair of shoes!

In Indiana at least, you're standing around on marble floors most of the day and walking around quite a bit.  Spending a bit extra on a good pair of comfortable shoes, will save you in the long-run.  I recommend Ecco, but I know folks have their own preferences.

So what makes a good lobbyist?

Integrity.  That might sound like a disingenuous statement, but while I can only speak from my experience here in Indiana, I cannot imagine a lobbyist being successful very long without it.

Lobbying, especially at the state level boils down to a lobbyist being able to state the merits of his/her clients position to legislators who probably know very little about the issue.  

In Indiana, we have citizen legislators.  That means they have real jobs they go back to when the legislature isn't in session.  Sure, some are retired and some even use their legislator's salaries as their primary/sole source of income, but by and large, legislators have other jobs.

Well, just like any person off the street, they have their own knowledge-base and they have their own pet issues, but there are hundreds of other issues, and thousands of pieces of legislation that come across their desks during session.

So a lobbyist's job is to voice the merits of a particular position on a subject about which, the legislator likely knows little.  

If some random stranger comes up to you on the street and asks you to join his church/social group/whatever, you'll probably politely listen and then walk away.  Same thing with lobbying.  Lobbyists acquire credibility over time.  Each time a lobbyist talks to a legislator, that's another occasion where he or she makes an impression.  If a lobbyist misleads a legislator, when that legislator finds out, they are going to distrust future statements from the lobbyist.

Therefore, when a lobbyist speaks for his or her clients, they must, of course advocate their client's issue, but they must also ensure that they are straightforward and honest with a legislator when doing so.

LinkedIn State Lobbyist Groups

If anyone ever actually finds this blog and is a state lobbyist (or has an interest in them), feel free to join my LinkedIn group "State Lobbyists".  I'm pretty darned impressed with the whole thing since it's up to about 250 members.  At this point there hasn't been a great deal of communications between folk, but I've seen glimmers here and there. 

It's my humble opinion that state lobbyists can be helpful for one another across state lines.  Back in the day, if you had a client that needed a lobbyist in another state, some lobbyists may have a relationship or two which could be helpful for that client, but I'm just one of those junkies who think that technology is quite an amazing tool and it's just now starting to really enter the government affairs world.

I had a contact from a lobbyist in a southern state who said he's looking to expand his group into other states.  He basically is looking for lobbyists in other states who are looking to retire in a few years or who want to be part of a larger group.  It's pretty neat to see and it makes perfect sense that a state lobbyist could create a name brand to extend across state lines.  More often than not, a client does business in multiple states, so if you are a firm that can offer services in other locations, then you've got that much up on the competition.

First day at the Statehouse

Indiana's legislative session began last week, but for all intents and purposes, it doesn't really start until the 26th thanks due to this week's activities related to inauguration and other items.  Next week the legislature has MLK day off and generally shuts down for the Presidential activities, so things are off to a slow start.  

Nonetheless, I can't help but think of my first day on the job with the Senate for my internship.  I was sitting there in my cubicle getting familiar with the surrounding and just minding my own.  I hear someone come around the corner and then I smelled something.  I look up and there is a big dude standing over me with a box in his arms and says "do you wanna buy a pelt?"  In the box were, I'm guessing at least 10-12 hides of various critters and varmints.

Long story short, this was a State Senator who had a constituent ask him if he'd bring them over and ask if anyone in the big city wanted to buy a skin.  Boy did I wonder what I'd gotten myself into, but at the same time, I couldn't help but feel like that was kind of refreshing.

Each time session gets ready to start, I can't help but think of that Senator and my first day at the Statehouse.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

how to become a lobbyist

As I've started into this online world to focus on lobbying, I've come across several stories and questions about how to become a lobbyist.  I suppose a blog is a great place to talk about my thoughts on the matter and more specifically, how I became a lobbyist.

Becoming a lobbyist is easy...if you know people or are willing to take as many internships and low-paying jobs as it takes.  My experience?  Well, I majored in Political Science after deciding against business school after my first accounting class.  I never thought about why my friends thought I was weird for watching C-Span and political talk shows.  I read the political stories in the news first and I thought of politics as a noble calling.  (all of which was to the dismay of those around me).  I distinctly remember my dad (accounting major) asking me "what are you going to do with a Political Science degree?!)

Well, my junior year, my dad helped me get a Congressional internship out in DC for a few months.  He worked for a large utility who had a lobbyist and they hooked me up.  The internship wasn't bad, but I quickly determined that D.C. politics was too cut-throat for me.  That's not an editorial statement, just how I felt about the whole thing.  

After that, I wasn't really sure what to do, but that winter, I was watching Indiana's then-Governor Evan Bayh give the State of the State address.  I was a little slow on the draw, but a little light bulb flickered and I thought I'd look into state politics. 

I sent a letter to Governor Bayh saying how much I liked his speech and commented on a few of the topics he raised and, much to my surprise, I was invited down to interview for a Governor's fellowship.  

I'm not sure what did my in more, my complete naivete or the fact that when they asked my opinions on issues, I apparently sounded like a Republican...and probably one who had no place even interviewing for that fellowship.  They were quite nice about it, but both sides of the table knew I was in the wrong place.  My ding letter arrived a short time later.  But I continued to have some hope that state politics was the place for me.

I was able to get an internship with the Republican State Party.  I did electronic database corrections and generally grunt work around the office, but started to feel like the people around me were like-minded souls.  That internship came to an end, and my boss was kind enough to get me an internship with the Indiana Senate.  I ended up doing the internship in the Media Relations office for the Majority (Republican) Caucus.  From the first day, I just loved it.  (I'll try and remember to discuss the Senator who scared the crap out of me that day in some later posting).

That session, I wrote press releases and attended committee meeting and just loved it.  I was even more excited when, half-way through session, one of the staffers left and I assumed her duties.  I thought I had a job after my internship ended.  Apparently not.  After that internship, I was thanked and sent on my way.  They hired someone else for the job.  

So at this point, I've interned in DC, the state party and the state legislature and I'm still unemployed a year after graduating with my degree!  I knew I loved it, but I just made the decision I couldn't afford to take another internship.  Well, someone was looking out for me because after about four of five months of working a job I just hated (delivering copies of legal documents to law firms), a girl I interned with at the state party, called to say her mom (the State Treasurer) needed a media relations person and would I come in to interview.  I was ecstatic!  Then, lo and behold, after I set up the interview, another girl I interned with at the State Senate called and said her trade association had a media relations job open too.  I set up that interview for the same day.  Long story short, I took the job with the State Treasurer even though I was offered the job at the trade association for twice the money because I had accepted the Treasurer's job earlier.  The President of the Association appreciated my dedication (read: stupidity) and said he'd keep me on the list for future openings.

Well, I worked for the State Treasurer for about two years, then was offered the job I did at the State Senate.  I jumped at the chance to get back there.  Then, a year later, the trade association called and said their media relations job was open again and I accepted.  Six months into doing media relations for the trade association, one of our lobbyists left to get married and I was offered the job of filling in her role as one of our lobbyists.  I didn't want to do it at first, but I thought it would be similar to pitching stories to reporters, it's just pitching positions to legislators.  I lucked out and loved it.

So that's the basics of how I became a lobbyist.  If anyone ever reads this and has questions, I'll be glad to answer anything I can.  The long and the short of it is that if you REALLY want to get into politics/lobbying, then plan on not making money for a long time.  Lobbying can be quite lucrative, but just like any other good-paying job, it can take a while to actually make a comfortable living.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just some tidbits

Ok, so it took me (and  a few other folks) about a year to go through all the state regulator's lists of state lobbyists and compile them into one database.   Now that the site is up and running, I thought it appropriate to point out a few things that I noticed while going through the list:

1)  Quite possibly the most unexpected client on the list would be that of Mr. Steven Hubbard of Bellingham, WA.  He represents the American Association for Nude Recreation.  Now there's just too many good lines here, but I just wonder if they have a grassroots statehouse day?  If anyone knows Mr. Hubbard or his group, I just can't but wonder what kinds of issues does their lobbyist monitor?

2)  Illinois lobbyists must be on to something us laid-back country folk' in Indiana aren't.  I don't know, exactly how many specific school districts have lobbyists in Illinois, but it's quite a few (on our site, search state: IL and client: school and 18 names pop up.  Heaven help you if you search "education" in client name in any state!  For example, Mr. Jay Keller with the Capitol Consulting Group, represents several clients, but one of them is the Richland Grade School District 88A.  Jay, more power to you brother, but to this lobbyist, it seems kind of odd that a publicly funded school corporation would hire a lobbyist?  So what issues besides the budget does a grade school ask their lobbyist to cover?

3) Ok, so I know that people can become experts in a given field, but I just don't really understand this one.  Mr. Marc Joseph with the firm of Adams, Broadwell, Joseph & Cardoza in California has quite a few clients.  Many of these clients are union-oriented.  No problem there.  However, when I look at his client list, there are five different locals of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (1245, 18, 465, 47 and 659).  Now, again, I'm sure there's some reason I'm just not smart enough to figure out, but why would five locals each hire the same lobbyist?  Isn't there a state conglomeration of IBEW that could hire their lobbyist directly?  Maybe this happens and California just requires lobbyists to list clients like this, but just another thing I came across on the California lobbyist list that I didn't quite understand.

4)  The most clients I found was for Mr. Parks Huff of Sams, Larkin & Huff in Georgia.  I didn't even bother counting all the clients, but I would estimate its over 200 clients.  It appears as though it's a bunch of individuals and some development companies, so again, maybe Georgia just requires lobbyists to list things we aren't here in Indiana, but that is just a ton of clients...even if they're not paying a whole lot each, that's a pretty good group of clients!

5) Here's the number of lobbyists for each state on lobbyistfinder:
Alaska:  107 lobbyists
Alabama: 132 lobbyists
Arkansas: 173 lobbyists
Arizona:  316 lobbyists
California: 816 lobbyists
Colorado: 162 lobbyists
Connecticut: 289 lobbyists
Delaware: 62 lobbyists
Florida: 278 lobbyists
Georgia: 101 lobbyists
Hawaii:  138 lobbyists
Iowa: 14 lobbyists (though I think some got lost in the file transfer)
Idaho: 17 lobbyists
Illinois: 385 lobbyists
Indiana: 294 lobbyists
Kansas: 46 lobbyists
Kentucky: 243 lobbyists
Louisiana: 153 lobbyists
Massachusetts: 378 lobbyists
Maryland: 343 lobbyists
Maine: 73 lobbyists
Michigan: 1469 lobbyists (I'd hire one too if I lived up there!)
Minnesota: 1134 lobbyists
Missouri: 31 lobbyists
Mississippi:  228 lobbyists
Montana: 1 lobbyist (again, they got lost in the transfer)
North Carolina: 602 lobbyists
North Dakota:  49 lobbyists
Nebraska: 25 lobbyists
New Hampshire: 89 lobbyists
New Jersey: 467 lobbyists
New Mexico: 653 lobbyists
Nevada: 140 lobbyists
New York: 326 lobbyists
Ohio: 241 lobbyists
Oklahoma: 233 lobbyists
Oregon: 66 lobbyists
Pennsylvania: 326 lobbyists
Rhode Island: 36 lobbyists
South Carolina: 393 lobbyists
South Dakota: 7 lobbyists
Tennessee: 313 lobbyists
Texas: 531 lobbyists
Utah: 8 lobbyists (got lost in transfer)
Virginia: 207 lobbyists
Vermont: 127 lobbyists
Washington: 328 lobbyists
Wisconsin: 415 lobbyists
West Virginia: 129 lobbyists
Wyoming: 7 lobbyists (ditto)

If you are a lobbyist an you're not on our list, you can add your profile for free (as long as you're registered with your state's lobbying regulator). is now live.  Visitors can search for state lobbyists for free on our site.  Search for lobbyists by their last name, their group/firm name, the state(s) in which they are registered, their clients and even business sector expertise and previous legislative/regulatory branch experience.

However, the business sector & legislative/regulatory branch experience search functions require the individual lobbyist to edit their profile to include this information.  

If you have suggestions on how to make our site more valuable to use, contact us anytime ( or