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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 17th February 2017 > MUCK YOU VERY MUCH

MUCK YOU VERY MUCH

INSTEAD OF DRAINING THE SWAMP, TRUMP MIGHT BE THE BEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO LOBBYISTS SINCE EXPENSE ACCOUNTS

AL MOTTUR admits to not only counting his chickens before they had hatched but also putting out all the ixings for a Sunday picnic fried chicken feast. The veteran Democratic lobbyist went into Election Day assuming Hillary Clinton would be America’s 45th president, and as a member of Clinton’s national inance committee who helped raise more than $1 million for her campaign, that would have been a victory not just for his party but also for his bottom line. “I was thinking, This is going to be great for my firm,” recalls Mottur, a senior partner at D.C. lobbying powerhouse Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck, which represents such companies as Anheuser-Busch, FedEx and Comcast.

GRIDLOCK AND LOAD: D.C.’s K Street was battling a slow, steady downturn under the Obama administration, but it sees brighter days ahead now that gridlock is temporarily unlocked.
CAMERON DAVIDSON/GALLERY STOCK; EVAN VUCCI/AP; PREVIOUS SPREAD: OLIVIER DOULIERY/BLOOMBERG/GETTY

As it did for so many others, the election results stunned Mottur; Donald Trump’s victory left him deeply disappointed, personally. Professionally, however, he quickly surmised that his company would be just fine. Several well-connected Republican lobbyists on the team were involved with the Trump campaign, his White House transition team or both, Mottur notes, “so we’ve just been switching our marketing emphasis.”

That’s the same abrupt adjustment dozens of lobbying companies, trade associations and corporations have been making in the months since American voters tapped a bombastic real estate tycoon with zero political experience to be the nation’s next president. Stupefaction and confusion are giving way to hard-nosed capitalism as K Street realizes all the business opportunities to be had. As part of his populist appeal, Trump promised to drain the fetid “swamp” along the Potomac, an incestuous bog teeming with powerful politicians and moneyed interests, and to “end the cycle of corruption” in Washington. But the White House’s recent executive order extending the lobbying ban on executive branch oicials is unlikely to stem the lobbying “revival” predicted by leading Republican lobbyist Trent Lott, the former Senate majority leader.

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