Lobbying
Overview
 
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, most often legislator
Legislator
A legislator is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are usually politicians and are often elected by the people...

s or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector
Private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

 individuals or corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups). Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituents, meaning a voter or bloc of voters within his or her electoral district
Electoral district
An electoral district is a distinct territorial subdivision for holding a separate election for one or more seats in a legislative body...

, or not; they may engage in lobbying as a business, or not.
Encyclopedia
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, most often legislator
Legislator
A legislator is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are usually politicians and are often elected by the people...

s or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector
Private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

 individuals or corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups). Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituents, meaning a voter or bloc of voters within his or her electoral district
Electoral district
An electoral district is a distinct territorial subdivision for holding a separate election for one or more seats in a legislative body...

, or not; they may engage in lobbying as a business, or not. Professional lobbyists are people whose business is trying to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest who hires them. Individuals and nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

s can also lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job (for instance, a CEO
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

 meeting with a representative about a project important to his/her company, or an activist meeting with his/her legislator in an unpaid capacity). Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.

The ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 and morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 of lobbying are dual-edged. Lobbying is often spoken of with contempt, when the implication is that people with inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law (twisting it away from fairness) in order to serve their own conflict of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

. But another side of lobbying is making sure that others' interests are duly defended against others' corruption, or even simply making sure that minority interests are fairly defended against mere tyranny of the majority
Tyranny of the majority
The phrase "tyranny of the majority" , used in discussing systems of democracy and majority rule, is a criticism of the scenario in which decisions made by a majority under that system would place that majority's interests so far above a dissenting individual's interest that the individual would be...

. For example, a medical association
Medical association
A health association is a professional organization for health professionals. They are often based on specialty and are usually national, often with subnational or regional affiliates. Health associations usually offer conferences and continuing education...

, or a trade association
Trade association
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association or sector association, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry...

 of health insurance companies, may lobby a legislature in order to counteract the influence of tobacco companies, in which case the lobbying would be viewed by most people as justified (duly defending against others' corruption). The difficulty in drawing objective lines between which lobbyists are "good lobbyists" and which ones are "bad ones" is compounded by the cleverness with which lobbyists or their clients can speciously argue that their own lobbying is of the "good" kind. At heart, the effort to influence legislation is a power struggle. As in other forms of power struggle, such as war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

 or law enforcement
Law enforcement
Law enforcement broadly refers to any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to promote adherence to the law by discovering and punishing persons who violate the rules and norms governing that society...

, motives range from predation to self-defense to fighting for justice, and the dividing line between predation and justice is subject to rationalization.

Etymology

The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 holds that "lobbying" comes from the gathering of Members of Parliament and peers
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

 in the hallways (or lobbies) of Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates. One story states that the term originated at the Willard Hotel
Willard InterContinental Washington
The Willard InterContinental Washington is an historic luxury Beaux-Arts hotel located at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. Among its facilities are numerous luxurious guest rooms, several restaurants, the famed Round Robin Bar, the Peacock Alley series of luxury shops, and voluminous...

 in Washington, DC, where it was used by Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 to describe the political wheelers and dealers who frequented the hotel's lobby to access Grant—who was often there to enjoy a cigar and brandy.

The term "lobbying" appeared in print as early as 1820:
Dictionary definitions:
  • 'Lobbying' (also 'Lobby') is a form of advocacy
    Advocacy
    Advocacy is a political process by an individual or a large group which normally aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions; it may be motivated from moral, ethical or faith principles or simply to protect an...

     with the intention of influencing decisions made by the government by individuals or more usually by Lobby groups; it includes all attempts to influence legislators and officials, whether by other legislators, constituents, or organized groups.
  • A 'lobbyist' is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby.

Overview

Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying.

Lobby groups may concentrate their efforts on the legislatures, where laws are created, but may also use the judicial branch to advance their causes. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, usually abbreviated as NAACP, is an African-American civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. Its mission is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to...

, for example, filed suits in state and federal courts in the 1950s to challenge segregation laws. Their efforts resulted in the Supreme Court declaring such laws unconstitutional.

They may use a legal device known as amicus curiae
Amicus curiae
An amicus curiae is someone, not a party to a case, who volunteers to offer information to assist a court in deciding a matter before it...

, literally "friend of the court," briefs to try and influence court cases. Briefs are written documents filed with a court, typically by parties to a lawsuit. Amines curiae briefs are briefs filed by people or groups who are not parties to a suit. These briefs are entered into the court records, and give additional background on the matter being decided upon. Advocacy groups use these briefs both to share their expertise and to promote their positions.

United Kingdom

The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee
Public Administration Select Committee
The Public Administration Select Committee is a Select Committee appointed by the British House of Commons to examine the reports of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and to consider matters relating to the quality and standards of administration provided by civil service departments,...

 argued that while there are shortcomings in the regulation of the lobbying industry in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, "The practice of lobbying in order to influence political decisions is a legitimate and necessary part of the democratic process. Individuals and organizations reasonably want to influence decisions that may affect them, those around them, and their environment. Government in turn needs access to the knowledge and views that lobbying can bring."

Many recent MPs and in particular Ministers are recruited by lobby firms and lobbyists have been recruited by ministers as 'special advisors' using what is termed the Revolving door
Revolving door (politics)
The revolving door is the movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation and on within lobbying companies. In some cases the roles are performed in sequence but in certain circumstances may be performed at the same time...

 of influence. In 2009 the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee
Public Administration Select Committee
The Public Administration Select Committee is a Select Committee appointed by the British House of Commons to examine the reports of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and to consider matters relating to the quality and standards of administration provided by civil service departments,...

 recommended that a statutory register of lobbying activity and lobbyists would improve transparency to the dealings between Whitehall decision makers and outside interests.

Parliament controversially responded to this recommendation by saying that self-regulation was more practical. The Conservative leader, David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

, predicted that it was "the next big scandal waiting to happen" and was one that had "tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money".

United States

The ability of individuals, groups, and corporations to lobby the government is protected by the right to petition
Right to petition
The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one's government, without fear of punishment or reprisals.-United States:...



In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 makes a clear distinction for nonprofit organizations between lobbying and advocacy, limiting the former to "asking policymakers to take a specific position on a specific piece of legislation, or that ask others to ask the same"; in common language, the definition of lobbying is normally broader. Other activities that seek to influence policies, possibly including public demonstrations and the filing of "friend of the court briefs", are termed as "advocacy".

European Union

The more political influence the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 gains on a global level, and the more policy areas it covers, the more interesting it becomes for lobbyists. With its enlargement
Enlargement of the European Union
The Enlargement of the European Union is the process of expanding the European Union through the accession of new member states. This process began with the Inner Six, who founded the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952...

 in 2004 this development has taken a further step, bringing in not only a lot more players and stakeholders but also a wide range of different political cultures and traditions.

Currently around 15,000 Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

-based lobbyists (consultants, lawyers, associations, corporations, NGOs etc.) seek to influence the EU’s legislative process. Some 2,600 special interest groups have a permanent office in Brussels. Their distribution is roughly as follows: European trade federations (32%), consultants (20%), companies (13%), NGOs (11%), national associations (10%), regional representations (6%), international organizations (5%) and think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

s (1%), (Lehmann, 2003, pp iii).

The fragmented nature of EU institutional structure provides multiple channels through which organized interests may seek to influence policy-making. Lobbying takes place at the European level itself and within the existing national states. The most important institutional targets are the Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

, the Council, and the European Parliament. The Commission has a monopoly on the initiative in Community decision-making. Since it has the power to draft initiatives, it makes it ideally suited as an arena for interest representation.

There are three main channels of indirect lobbying of the Council. First, lobbying groups routinely lobby the national delegations in Brussels. The second indirect means of lobbying the Council is for interest groups to lobby members of the many Council-working groups. The third means of influencing the Council is directly via national governments. As a consequence of the co-decision procedures, the European Parliament attracts attention from lobbyists who target the rapporteur
Rapporteur
Rapporteur is used in international and European legal and political contexts to refer to a person appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue or a situation....

 and the chairman of the committee. The rapporteurs are MEPs
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 appointed by Committees to prepare the parliament’s response to the Commission’s proposal and to those measures taken by the Parliament itself.

Lobbying in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 was born only in the late 1970s. Up to that time, "diplomatic lobbying" at the highest levels remained the rule. There were few lobbyists involved in the system and except for some business associations, representative offices were rarely used. The event that sparked the explosion of lobbying was the first direct election of the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 in 1979. Up until then the Parliament consisted of a complex, and companies increasingly felt the need of an expert local presence to find out what was going on in Brussels. The foundation of lobbying was therefore the need to provide information. From that developed the need to influence the process actively and effectively. The next important step in lobbying development was the Single European Act of 1986
Single European Act
The Single European Act was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The Act set the European Community an objective of establishing a Single Market by 31 December 1992, and codified European Political Cooperation, the forerunner of the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy...

, which both created the qualified majority vote for taking decisions in the Council
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 and enhanced the role of the Parliament, again making EU legislation more complex and lobbying further more important and attractive for stakeholders.

In the wake of the Abramoff scandal
Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal
The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal is a United States political scandal relating to the work performed by political lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Grover Norquist and Michael Scanlon on Indian casino gambling interests for an estimated $85 million in fees. Abramoff and Scanlon...

 in Washington and the massive impact that this had on the lobbying scene in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the rules for lobbying in the EU—which until now consist of only a non-binding code of conduct-—may also be tightened.

France

In France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the political system does not integrate the lobbying practice. Much French republican thought has been suspicious of the claims of "particular interests," which are often contrasted with the "general interest" of the nation. This is one interpretation of Rousseau's Social Contract
Social Contract (Rousseau)
Of The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is the book in which Rousseau theorized about the best way in which to set up a political community in the face of the problems of commercial society which he had already identified in his Discourse on Inequality...

, for example. So while lobbying has always been practiced in France, organized lobbying made a significant appearance in France only in the early 1980s. Since then, it has steadily grown; many interest groups routinely seek to influence the French institutions as the Government and the French Parliament (“National Assembly” and “Senate”). To make up the lost time, more and more French enterprises try to organize their own lobbies by creating their own public affairs department. In recent years, growing numbers of grassroots
Grassroots
A grassroots movement is one driven by the politics of a community. The term implies that the creation of the movement and the group supporting it are natural and spontaneous, highlighting the differences between this and a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures...

 and grasstop lobbies have been organized by citizen groups, representing interests such as genetically modified organisms and software piracy.

But there is currently no regulation at all for lobbying activities in France and, as a consequence, this practice suffers from a lack of transparency. There is no regulated access to the French institutions and no register. For example, the internal rule of the National Assembly (art. 23 and 79) forbid to members of Parliament to be linked with a particular interest. However, MPs don’t have to declare their interest and the list of MPs' assistants is not public. At last, there is no rule at all for consultation of interest groups by the Parliament and the Government. Nevertheless, a recent parliamentary initiative (motion for a resolution) has been launched by several MPs so as to establish a register for representatives of interest groups and lobbyists who intend to lobby the MPs. The purpose of this initiative is to introduce standards of conduct and access to the National Assembly. Through the use of a register, these standards of conduct and access will enable the Assembly to identify and maintain a list of the representatives of interest groups who follow legislative activity and to supervise fully the access of those representatives to the National Assembly. This motion has not been adopted yet.

Australia

Over the past twenty years lobbying in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 has grown from a small industry of a few hundred employees to a multi billion dollar a year industry. Lobbying has become a political fact of life and is now endemic in local, state and federal government. It is not just the local councillors, state and federal politicians being lobbied. What was once the preserve of big multi-national companies and at a more local level, property developers, has morphed into an industry that would employ more than 10,000 people and represent every facet of human endeavour. Lobbyists must organise a pass to get access to the federal parliament. However, this is not necessary as some are simply signed in as guests of Senators or Members on the day of their visit. When lobbyists visit most federal government departments they must also sign a register. The Parliamentary Pass must be signed by two parliamentarians. It is administered by the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) and has the enforcement of the Criminal Code Act 1995. The Pass is valid for 2 years.There are some advocacy groups in Australia that can lobby without passes. For example in 1995, following the lobbying done by The Affiliated Residential Park Residents Association
Affiliated Residential Park Residents Association
The Affiliated Residential Park Residents Association Incorporated is an incorporated non-profit association with a registered office in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia....

 Incorporated (ARPRA) and other interested tenant organizations, the Government created new legislation to provide residential park residents with improved protection. The Residential Parks Act of 1996 became the operating tool for the conduct of residents and park owners alike. In 1998, following further lobbying for the legislative review and revision of the 1996 Act, the Residential Parks Act of 1998 became law.

Other countries

Only countries where lobbying is regulated in parliament bills include:
  • Georgia (1998)
  • Hungary (2006).
  • Lithuania (2001)
  • Poland (2005)
  • Israel (1994)
  • Italy (Regional Level, 2002 - cfr. P.L. Petrillo, "I gruppi di pressione nella Regione Toscana", in www.amministrazioneincammino.luiss.it)
  • Canada

See also

  • Activism
    Activism
    Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

  • Advocacy
    Advocacy
    Advocacy is a political process by an individual or a large group which normally aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions; it may be motivated from moral, ethical or faith principles or simply to protect an...

  • Advocacy group
    Advocacy group
    Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...

  • Bribery
    Bribery
    Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or...

  • Client politics
    Client politics
    Client politics is the type of politics when an organized minority or interest group benefits at the expense of the public. Client politics may have a strong interaction with the dynamics of identity politics....

  • Energy lobby
    Energy Lobby
    "Energy lobby" is the umbrella term used to name the paid representatives of large fossil fuel and electric utilities corporations who attempt to influence governmental policy...

  • European Women's Lobby
    European women's lobby
    Founded in 1990, the European Women’s Lobby is an NGO and the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union , working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men...

  • Money loop
  • Outline of public affairs
  • Pharmaceutical lobby
    Pharmaceutical lobby
    The pharmaceutical lobby — also known as the drug lobby — refers to the paid representatives of large pharmaceutical and biomedicine companies in the United States who seek to influence federal government policy.-Political influence in the U.S.:...


United States

  • Lobbyists.info - The largest, comprehensive database of 22,000 registered lobbyists. Contains searchable profiles of lobbyists and government relations professionals, their clients and issues.
  • LobbyistFinder.com - Searchable & editable database of 34,000 registered state lobbyists.
  • Top 25 Lobbying Groups - Fortune
    Fortune (magazine)
    Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

    lists the top 25 lobbying groups as of 1999.
  • LobbyWatch - a project of the Center for Public Integrity
    Center for Public Integrity
    The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy and committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting both in the United States and around...

    with reports on lobbyists and lobbying efforts as well as a searchable database.
  • OpenSecrets.org
  • NoLobby.com - Capitalism Magazine mini-site. Opposes lobbying restrictions on free speech grounds.
  • Lobbyists and Lawyers, Barnacles and Leeches, Selfishness and Corporatism - The truth about lobbyists and their affect on public policy and legislation.
  • The Citizen's Guide to the U.S. Government - an online tutorial containing information for individuals who wish to address issues with their elected officials.
  • Free Speech National Right to Life page containing documents opposing excessive regulation of "lobbying" as infringement on "right to petition" guaranteed by the First Amendment.
  • Public Affairs Links
  • First Street Research Group - The First Street Research Group publishes free research reports on the lobbying industry.

Europe

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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