Lobbyists Rake In Record Revenue As Americans Grapple With Declining Wages

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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Washington, D.C.’s biggest lobbying firms are posting record revenues as Americans feel the heat from falling wages, The Hill reported Friday.

The 20 largest lobbying firms in the country collectively brought in over $150 million between January and March as Congress considered spending legislation, foreign aid bills and new tax laws, according to The Hill. American workers, meanwhile, saw their median inflation-adjusted wage fall from $371 in the third quarter of 2023 to $365 a week in the first quarter of 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The median wage as of the first quarter of 2024 is lower than it was at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, BLS data shows.

Brownstein, which was the largest lobbying firm by revenue in the U.S. in 2023, made a record $16.2 million lobbying in the first quarter of 2024, according to The Hill. Akin Gump, the second-largest lobbying firm by revenue, also reported their highest-earning first quarter on record, bringing in $13.8 million between January and March. (RELATED: Meet The Former Lawmakers Who Helped Spearhead TikTok’s Multi-Million Dollar Lobbying Effort On Capitol Hill)

“This year is off to a strong start with clients focused on AI, wireless communications and regulatory matters including antitrust,” a press release provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation by a Brownstein spokesperson reads.

Large items on the legislative agenda during the first quarter of 2024 included legislation that would force TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to either sell the platform or face a ban in the United States, a $95 billion foreign aid package and changes to tax law.

The foreign aid package, which President Joe Biden signed into law on Wednesday, includes similar provisions that force ByteDance to either sell TikTok or face a ban, alongside billions in funds for Ukraine, Israel and America’s allies in the Indo-Pacific.

BGR Group and Mehlman Consulting, two other major lobbying firms, reported their best quarters ever, earning $10.9 million and $7.4 million in lobbying revenue respectively, according to The Hill. One of Mehlman’s clients in the first quarter was TikTok, paying the firm $80,000 between January and March, according to lobbying disclosures.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 2016: Street sign of Infamous K Street in Washington, DC, legendary home to lobbyists (although now K St, is mostly symbolic). (Credit: bakdc/Shutterstock)

Street sign of Infamous K Street in Washington, DC, legendary home to lobbyists (Credit: bakdc/Shutterstock)

In addition to declining wages, Americans faced slowing economic growth, rising costs and sweeping layoffs.

The U.S. economy grew at a rate of just 1.6% during the first quarter of 2024, well below the 2.2% growth predicted by economists. The rate of growth also represented a steep decline from the prior quarter, where the economy grew by 3.4%.

As growth slows, inflation continues to tick upward, increasing by 0.4% between February and March. The monthly uptick is part of a 3.5% year-over-year increase in inflation.

Costs are rising across a number of areas for Americans, particularly housing, drugs and food prices.

The state of the economy has small business owners pessimistic about the trajectory of their enterprises, with their optimism dropping to its lowest level since 2012, according to a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business. This lack of optimism may be reflected in layoff statistics, with employers cutting 90,309 employees in March, more than any other month since January 2023, according to a report from the firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“Many companies appear to be reverting to a ‘do more with less’ approach,” Andy Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., said in the report.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, BGR Group and Mehlman Consulting did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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