If the lobbying world of K Street was as powerful as its public image, earmarks would be back in full force in Congress — or, maybe, they never would have gone away.
The modern lobbying business was built largely on helping clients secure member-directed pots of money in annual appropriations bills. And many of the firms that pioneered the practice have taken a serious hit since lawmakers banned earmarks in 2010.
But don’t expect K Street to mount a high-profile, big-dollar campaign to bring them back. Instead, in private meetings with members of Congress and their aides, lobbyists say they offer a pitch for how earmarks could help lawmakers, who are often frustrated that they can’t direct money to their districts, wrest more control of federal dollars.