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What does the Trump administration mean for K Street?

 


The Hill | February 1, 2017


The Hill published an article, “What does the Trump administration mean for K Street?,” written by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Bill O'Leary about the new administration's impact on Washington. The article is excerpted below.

As the new administration gears up and the Republican Congress gets to work, many corporations and institutions are asking what is motivating the president and what will be some of the administration’s key early policy priorities. They want to know how best to engage, what issues to embrace or avoid, what people or resources to bring on board, etc. There are implications for K Street obviously. Historically, in times of political uncertainty the lobbying industry has done well. The irony of President Trump’s win is that lobbyists and corporate advocates are going to become more important, not less important to corporate America.

Trump = unpredictable.

And unpredictable equals opportunity. Trump is neither conservative nor progressive. Nor is he a simple populist.  He is the most unpredictable president in modern history and is likely to govern with a quixotic approach that blends red meat Republican issues with traditional labor and progressive issues with a sprinkling of some middle America, blue collar common sense and logic.

The trick for companies will be to figure out where their agendas align and diverge with a president’s agenda that does not fall neatly along traditional/predictable party lines while also avoiding his populist ire.

The value lobbyists bring has been changing, but a Trump administration may slow this change temporarily.

How to influence the new administration is still unclear. The value that lobbyists bring has been changing over the last ten years. Lobbyists’ value used to be related to information and access – they could get information that others didn’t have or was hard to get and they could open doors and influence legislation and regulation rather directly. Over the last ten years, due to changes in technology and in the rules and the partisanship in Congress, information is widely available and traditional access/influence is far less effective.

However, for the next 12 to 24 months we might revert to a world where information and access in the more traditional sense is highly valued, because very few people actually know what is going on or who to lobby. Trump is his own man. His team is not a set of the usual party power brokers and insiders. And it is unclear how much influence his team actually will have on him. It is also unclear how much Trump will get into the details across the vast Executive branch. So right now, knowledge is power. Who are the players and what issues matter? These are the questions being asked now and there is a small universe of people in D.C. who know the answers. The scramble now is to find and hire those people.

To read the full article​, click here.

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What does the Trump administration mean for K Street?