Lobbyist's Pay Tops $1 Million

16 February 2006

WASHINGTON, DC -- The annual salary of the chief lobbyist for Nevada casinos has increased 19 percent in two years and is now more than $1 million.

And his total compensation package exceeds $1.25 million per year, according to a survey reported in the latest issue of National Journal.

Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, ranks 16th in salary and 23rd in total compensation among Washington lobbyists, the survey said.

The survey was based on reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service or the Labor Department for 2003 and 2004. Revenue for the American Gaming Association, which was founded in 1995, was about $7.2 million.

Fahrenkopf, 66, declined to give his current salary. He said the board of directors of the gaming association usually determines his salary at its December meeting.

"I'm not going to comment on that. I'm wondering what the compensation of your publisher is. What's your editor's compensation? What's your compensation?" Fahrenkopf said.

Fahrenkopf's salary far exceeds that of the president of the United States -- $400,000 -- and those for members of Congress -- $165,200.

Fahrenkopf acknowledged he is concerned about the potential effect of the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff. After pleading guilty last month to three felonies in a fraud and bribery case, Abramoff is cooperating in a federal inquiry of corruption in Congress.

"He's being portrayed as the number one lobbyist in Washington, and before this scandal broke, nine out of 10 people in this city never heard of Abramoff," Fahrenkopf said. "Someone in the media really should focus on the 99.9 percent of lobbyists who follow the law, are very hard working and educate legislators on the (Capitol) Hill."

Fahrenkopf's salary has increased 19 percent from $974,926 since the last survey two years ago. His compensation package has increased 20 percent from $1,047,109.

Fahrenkopf has risen among lobbyists in salary from 18th to 16th and in compensation from 29th to 23rd.

"You know me, I never comment on my competition," Fahrenkopf said.

Jack Valenti, who retired in 2004 as the chief lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America, led all lobbyists in the survey with a compensation package of more than $11 million. Terrence McDermott, the top lobbyist for the National Association of Realtors, received the highest annual salary among lobbyists -- $2,633,204.

Fahrenkopf is one of the three highest-compensated lobbyists for trade associations specializing in sales, service and construction, according to the survey.

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