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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Jan. 30, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 5 (download PDF version)


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U.S. LOBBYING OUTLAYS DIPPED 6.8% IN 2011

Federal lobbying outlays dipped 6.8 percent to $3.27B in 2011, marking the first year-to-year decline since 1999, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Capitol

The Center says the decline is due to a combination of political gridlock and a fall-off from the aggressive 2010 spending by healthcare and financial services companies fighting to stave off regulation.

The big 2011 spending categories were the pharmaceutical and health products industry ($226M), insurers ($158M), oil & gas companies ($146M) and electric utilities ($144M).

Sectors stepping up lobbying activities in `11 were TV/music/movie, commercial banks, telecom services, mining, public sector unions and reproductive rights groups

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce topped the list of individual spenders with outlays of $66.4M. It was followed by General Electric ($26.3M), National Assn. of Realtors ($22.4M), Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($20.9M), ConocoPhillips ($20.6M), American Hospital Assn. ($20.4M), AT&T ($20.2M), Comcast ($19.3M), Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America ($18.9M) and National Cable and Telecommunications Assn. ($18.5M).

The Center reports there were 12,600 registered lobbyists in 2011, off the record high of 14,900 in 2007, the year before new regulations were put into effect in the aftermath of the Jack Abramoff scandal.

EX-REP. DELIVERS PITCH FOR TAIWAN

Former Florida Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s Western Hemisphere Strategies (Miami) has inked a $15K-a-month pact with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office to further Taiwan ties with the U.S.

The Republican, who stepped down in 2010, is to brief the client on “developments in the U.S. Congress and U.S. political scenes” that may impact Taiwan, according to the contract.

Diaz-Balart is also slated to encourage Congressmen and their staffers to visit the Republic of China and extend invitations to lunch/dinner at Taiwan’s Twin Oaks estate in Washington.

Havana-born Diaz-Balart, whose aunt was the first wife of Fidel Castro, is prohibited from doing any business with the People’s Republic of China and any of its entities.

He also is banned from lobbying Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who took over his brother’s conservative south Florida Congressional seat in the last election.

Tecro also uses former New York Republican Senator Al D’Amato’s Park Strategies.

It renewed that $240K one-year pact this month.

WPP BOLSTERS PBN CO. STAKE

WPP has bolstered its stake in PBN Co., a major corporate/crisis/government relations player in the former Soviet Union, from 49.9 percent to 75 percent, a move that results in the new brand name of PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

In 2007, Martin Sorrell’s ad/PR combine purchased a 49.9 percent stake in PBN, which has counseled clients such as Bank of America, BP, John Deere, Abbott, Xerox and Visa in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the former Soviet republics.

PBN’s management trio of Peter Necarsulmer, Susan Thurman and Myron Wasylyk now hold a 25 percent state in the revamped firm.

Jack Martin, CEO of H+K, said in a statement that PBN’s depth of expertise and relationships with governments/ business community/ and media “will serve our clients well in this dynamic part of the world.”

PBN launched 1983. H+K’s Moscow office will be merged into PBN. PBN’s D.C. office will be folded into H+K.

SNAP PLANS TO DEVELOP IR WITH ICR

Snap Interactive, the Facebook app developer growing at a prodigious rate, has engaged ICR as the publicly traded company looks to improve communications with the investment sector.

Snap, which went public in 2006 a year before its hit dating app AreYouInterested.com debuted, will lean on ICR as it plans to present at investor conferences for the first time this year.

“We look forward to more actively communicating our story to investors interested in these emerging markets,” said new CFO Jon Pedersen, who joined from Warner Music Group in November.

New York-based Snap posted $5.1M in third quarter 2011 revenue, up nearly 200 percent from the same period of 2010. It is the No. 2 Facebook app developer behind Zynga, which went public in a mediocre debut in December.

Snap claims 55M installs of AreYouInterested.com. It also developed WhoIsNear.com, a geo-location app. The company does not currently work with a PR agency. Leah Taylor is PR director.

USC DENTAL SCHOOL WANTS IMAGE BUFF

The University of Southern California's dental school has kicked off a review for its communications and advertising efforts with an RFP process through early February.

The Ostrow School of Dentistry issued an RFP on Jan. 24 noting it wants to “increase awareness and enhance its reputation” on the Los Angeles campus and throughout the state of California. It is also kicking off a $115M fundraising campaign in March, part of USC’s overall $6B push announced by new president Max Nikias last year amid cutbacks in state funding.

A $10K-a-month budget is expected. There is no incumbent.

Proposals are due Feb. 3.

RFP: http://odwpr.us/wrpEFQ.

 
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