Lady K is a lobbyist on K Street, and here to answer your questions. Have one for her? Use our contact form!
With Congress leaving for seven weeks, what a lobbyist going to do until after the election?
The next few weeks are eerily quiet on K Street. For those who aren't stressed with the prospect of bringing in new business, working at a firm right now is like being in the office when your boss is out of town. You can duck out a little early, take a lunch/nap on your office roof, and feel somewhat less guilty when a VP catches you on Twitter (it's for work purposes, I swear). But for those of us watching the purse strings, a lack of business can be brutal.
Clients are hesitant to invest in any significant lobbying campaigns until we know who's going to lead the free world for the next four years. Who wants to play chicken with budgets when you know you'll need to spend more in a few months? That being said, many firms are contractually obliged to spend a certain amount of funds before the calendar year ends. So when Congress enters a lame duck session this November, work will pick up substantially. It's kind of nice having that tiny October break, don't you think?
Lady K, There is a large amount of alcohol on K Street, how about marijuana, mary jane, pot, cannabis, weed...you get the idea?
Ahh, it was the winter of 2010. A new dusting of snow covered the ground, it was so cold even the dancers at Camelot were wearing jackets, and I found myself at a house party up in Columbia Heights full of Hill staffers from the Midwest. A few others there worked at the White House, and when they started talking about smoking -- while some dude played acoustic guitar for a barely-awake girl still wearing her staffer badge -- I couldn't help but ask, "Don't you guys have to get a security clearance?" They laughed. I felt like an idiot.
I don't smoke, but of course there are folks that do on and off K Street. It's more of a solitary thing: there aren't work-sponsored hash parties like there are happy hours. To each his or her own.
You know who tends to get high more often, though? Journalists. It makes you wonder how many brilliant investigations were conducted because someone smoked a joint or two and said, "Dudddde, let's sneak into a Romney fundraiser with a video camera."
What would you say are the Lobbyist Dens... you know the bars where lobbyist go to be with just other lobbyists?
"Lobbyist Dens"? I love it. DC is not The Godfather. If you want a dark enclave with strong martinis (are there any other kind?) and posh overstuffed lounge chairs, go to Russia House or Eighteenth Street Lounge. But don't expect lobbyists wearing with prominently displayed nametags to be jumping out from corners. We're a little classier that that.
Much like sharks will eventually eat one another if left in close contact for too long, lobbyists don't always like hanging out with other lobbyists. You know how in Mad Men, Don Draper always breaks out in a sweat when he sees an ad guy from a rival firm start bragging about some big campaign? We're the same way. It's because we don't want to see our competitors, especially in a booze-fueled situation. Also, we generally don't want others to know our footprints.
If we do want to get together with folks for a business purpose, it's usually somewhere close to the Hill: Bullfeathers for drinks; Charlie Palmer's, Fiola or Hunan Dynasty for dinner. Hotel bars also work well, since often times we'll do fly-ins or entertain clients from out of town. And of course, we spend lots of time at company happy hours and dinners, but that's more specific to each firm. Personally, the $12 martinis get old quickly, even if you're in a mysterious dark room with fancy couches. When I'm not at work, having a Stella on the roof of Marvin is much better than any dimly lit den could ever be.