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K Street Signups High in First Quarter

The economy may be in the tank, but the influence business isn’t going anywhere.

Nearly 1,700 lobbying registration forms have been filed in the first quarter of 2009, according to a review of the Senate lobbying disclosure database done by the Sunlight Foundation.

Several financial services firms that received federal bailout funds were among those hiring new outside consultants. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs, and Fifth Third Bank, all recipients of the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, hired lobbyists, according to Sunlight.

The number of new registrations in the first quarter will almost certainly grow, since registration forms can be filed up to 45 days after signing up a client.

The plethora of new registrations comes in the face of only 184 terminations filed in 2009, including seven clients of the PMA Group, according to the foundation.

The watchdog group reviewed registration forms that had been posted on the Senate lobbying disclosure Web site between Jan. 1 and March 31.

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