Defining Lobbying: There are several legal definitions of lobbying. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 limits it to activities directed at Congress and certain members of the federal executive branch. The Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 encompasses certain "political activities" and public relations efforts. The Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 defines lobbying as anything that could be classified as "influencing legislation" at either the federal or state level. In putting together the Influence 50, we recognize that none of those laws or definitions captures the full scope of lobbying as it is practiced today. Accordingly, for purposes of the survey, we defined lobbying in its broadest sense: all activities intended to shape laws or regulations on behalf of a client. This includes, but is not limited to, lobbying of federal agencies and state, local and foreign governments, as well as work done on related advertising, grass-roots, and public relations campaigns. It excludes legal work and advice on how to comply with existing laws and regulations.
Deciding Who Makes It: To focus the survey on the largest legislative practices, we included only the list of firms that reported at least $2 million in LDA fees last year. In addition, our published rankings include only those firms whose total revenue exceeded $7 million last year. For firms that are new this year to the Influence 50 list, the gross revenue for 2006 is not included.
Calculating Revenue: In preparing this year's report, we surveyed more than 100 lobbying and law firms, limiting them to 2007 revenue generated by federal and state lobbying activities. International lobbying handled by foreign offices was not included in the survey numbers, nor was revenue generated by subsidiaries, affiliates or parent companies. Most firms cooperated in our reporting of their revenue; some did not. But even among firms that cooperated, we reviewed the firms' calculations and, in some cases, requested revisions or additional supporting documentation. Though we strove for accuracy, all figures in the survey should be viewed as informed estimates of the firms' 2007 revenues, rounded to the nearest $100,000 increment.