TOUGH STUFF

Lobbyists Fear Earmark Ban

The poor dears. Lobbyists who have devoted their professional lives to scoring no-bid contracts for their clients through federal earmarks are panicking after House Democrats in the Appropriations Committee adopted a new policy blocking earmarks for for-profit organizations this week. Republicans are on board and then some, saying they would swear off earmarks for nonprofits as well for a year. “The playing field has changed dramatically,” said Michael H. Herson, a lobbyist for defense contractors, told the New York Times. Firms are looking at ways to stay relevant despite the ban, like working with nonprofits who might not be affected or focusing on scoring federal grants instead of earmarks for cash. “For firms that have made their living on getting earmarks for their clients, this is a sea change,” another lobbyist, Joseph M. Donovan of Nelson Mullins Public Strategies Group, told the Times. “It fundamentally changes their business model. The Senate has not agreed to the earmark ban, so it could become an issue when the two try to reconcile their spending.