K Street Files: Pardon My French, but You’re Not Lobbying, Are You?

Posted April 23, 2010 at 5:35pm

Correction Appended

The word “lobbying” carries with it all sorts of baggage — conjuring up images of corruption and, gasp, even sleaze — in the United States. Need evidence? Look no further than the 1Goal initiative, which launched last week on Capitol Hill.

With Jessica Alba there to add a little star power, 1Goal handed out a two-page explainer to supporters of the soccer-themed education effort Wednesday with the word “lobby” noticeably blacked out by a permanent marker.

“1GOAL will lobby and mobilize the support of millions of football fans who will be watching the World Cup,” the fact sheet, with its decidedly Euro-prose, originally said. While lobbying is common parlance in foreign countries for educating government officials,

1Goal campaign didn’t want the word associated with its U.S. efforts, according to Jove Oliver, a consultant for the group.

A junior staffer printed the pages from the main London archive of materials, Oliver said. “In the U.S., the whole lobbying term has become politically charged, whereas in the rest of the world it means educating policymakers,” Oliver said.

Big Oil Takes a Dip

Big Oil has a major stake in the activity on Capitol Hill, including climate change legislation and offshore drilling, but a number of the industry’s top players actually scaled back their lobbying tabs in the first quarter of 2010.

According to Congressional filings, Exxon Mobil Corp., which generally ranks among the biggest spenders on federal lobbying, reported $3.3 million for the first quarter. That is down from the
$6.6 million the Texas company spent in the fourth quarter of 2009 and $7.1 million it shelled out in the third quarter.

The American Petroleum Institute, the oil companies’ trade group, reported spending $1.2 million in the first three months of this year, down $200,000 from what it spent in the fourth quarter of 2009.

BP, another oil giant, spent $3.5 million on lobbying in the first three months of this year compared with $4.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 and $3.7 million in the third quarter of 2009.

“Our expenditures track what we feel is required to address the issues in play at the time,” Bill Bush, a spokesman for API, said of the group’s declining spending. “The reason for a slight decline would be difficult to assess.”

K Street Moves

Kratos Global Strategies is adding to its Washington, D.C., senior leadership team. Christine Middleton, former vice president at Fleishman-Hillard, joins as managing director of the mid-Atlantic office. Richard Doyle, head of the International Sleep Products Association, and Mark Isaac, formerly of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, join the office as senior vice presidents.

Heather Sabharwal, former director of public relations for Strayer University, joins as vice president.

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Correction: April 26, 2010

The column incorrectly stated that the 1Goal initiative was affiliated with the ONE Campaign.