By Washington Post; April marked a spike in activity on K Street, with corporations, trade groups and other entities tapping outside lobbyists at a rate not seen since mid-2011. Last month saw 686 new lobbying registrations — reports that lobbyists must file with the Senate when they contact members of Congress on behalf of a new client. The last time the volume of new lobbying registrations even came close to that number was in April 2011, when lobbying firms registered 685 new clients. Registrations don’t equal lobbying dollars right away, nor do they always represent new business — lobbyists file them, for example, when they switch firms and take clients with them. Still, registrations generally indicate fees are likely to follow. And the recent flurry of activity may signal that the $3 billion lobbying industry, whose heavy-hitters are coming out of two years of decline, is picking up steam. Some say it’s a collective response to signs that Congress — after two years of distractions such as the debt ceiling and fiscal cliff debates, on top of a presidential election — may finally be returning to a normal rhythm of lawmaking. “Between the spring and the [fiscal] cliff at end of last year, there was a bit of a ‘no man’s land’ where nothing was really happening,” said Ilisa Halpern Paul, a health care lobbyist who leads the government relations group at Drinker Biddle & Reath. “Everyone was home running for re-election or retiring. It was as if Congress hit the pause button. When they did come back, it was all on [fiscal] cliff stuff.” Now, with the 113th Congress stocked with first-time representatives, the time is ripe for advocacy groups and companies to establish relationships with new members of Congress and get their interests back onto the legislative agenda, Paul said (Read More).