Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

BGOV’s top-performing lobbying firms of 2016

February 13, 2017 Bob Meteer  & Jorge Uquillas

This article was first available to Bloomberg Government subscribers. 

Lobbying is big business in Washington. Until a few years ago, however, there was no way to assess or compare the performances of D.C.’s many lobbying firms. Bloomberg Government set out to change that in 2014 by adapting and applying traditional business metrics, such as customer satisfaction and revenue growth.

With 2016’s lobbying data now filed, Bloomberg Government has reviewed the numbers for 1,721 registered lobbying firms to identify the 31 top performers.

See the list and download the full report on the top-performing lobbying firms.


Bloomberg Government analyzed 2016 Lobbying Disclosure Act filings to identify lobbying firms that met six business performance criteria:

1. Total revenue of $1 million or more
2. Growth in revenue
3. Growth in average revenue per client
4. A one-year retention rate of 80 percent or more
5. A three-year retention rate of 60 percent or more
6. Revenue per registered lobbyist of $400,000 or more

Of roughly 1,721 registered lobbying firms that filed disclosure reports with the Senate during 2016, 31– five more than last year– met all of our criteria and are included in the top performer list.

Relative performance in each of the five criteria outside of the revenue threshold was then calculated to determine the placement of the 31 firms on the list.

Review of 2016 Activity

The overall lobbying market contracted by 3 percent in 2016 to $3.13 billion. Defense was the only lobbying issue among the 10 most active issues with a year-over-year increase in implied spending and number of filings. Five of the 31 top-lobbying firms listed defense as a top issue.

Detailed analysis of 2016 lobbying activity for every registered lobbying firm and lobbying client can be found in Bloomberg Government’s Lobbying Intelligence tool.

Click here to see trends across all lobbying policy issue areas or view the Lobbying Spending by Industry dashboard to analyze lobbying activity based on the industries of stakeholders. These and other tools are available in the Lobbying Dashboard.

Bloomberg Government clients can click here to see trends across all lobbying policy issue areas. Not a client? Check out our lobbying analysis and real-time lobbying intelligence tools in action. 

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