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Howard Marlowe, Lobbyist Defender

Howard Marlowe’s 35-year mission to restore lobbying’s good name
Howard Marlowe, Lobbyist Defender
Photograph by Thomas Prior for Bloomberg Businessweek

On an April morning, Howard Marlowe started his day walking the byzantine hallways of the Capitol with the same goal he has had for 35-plus years: to try and persuade people to do something they’d rather not do. He was there to pay a visit to the office of Mike Quigley, a Democrat representing Chicago’s North Side. After a short wait, a smiling young staff member emerged from a backroom, and she and Marlowe made their way to the Longworth House Office cafeteria. It’s a walk he’s made countless times. The difference this time was that he wasn’t here on behalf of a client; he was representing himself.

Marlowe, who runs the K Street lobbying firm Marlowe & Co., is president of the American League of Lobbyists, the industry’s professional association, which counts about 1,400 of Washington’s 10,199 registered lobbyists as members. As lobbyist for the lobbyists, he represents those working for groups as diverse as the American Foundation for the Blind to über-lobbying firm Patton Boggs, which raked in $452 million lobbying last year.