Lobbying includes all attempts to influence
legislatorsand officials, whether by other legislators, constituents or organized groups. [ [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lobbying Merriam-Webster Dictionary.Com entry on lobbying] ] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/82529.stm BBC Definition of Lobbying] .] Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying. [ [http://www.npaction.org/article/articleview/76/1/248 Non-Profit Action description of "Lobbying Versus Advocacy: Legal Definitions"] .] [ [http://www.senate.gov/reference/reference_index_subjects/Lobbying_vrd.htm U.S. Senate definition of Lobbying] .] [Andrew Bounds and Marine Formentinie in Brussels, [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4c51c1ec-4c20-11dc-b67f-0000779fd2ac.html EU Lobbyists Face Tougher Regulation] , Financial Times, August 16, 2007.]
The supposed origins of the term "lobbyist" vary. The
BBCholds that lobbying comes from the gathering of Members of Parliament and peersin the hallways (or lobbies) of Houses of Parliamentbefore and after parliamentary debates. The modern British Parliament was established by the Acts of Unionin 1707. One story states that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was used by Ulysses S. Grantto describe the political wheelers and dealers frequenting the hotel's lobby in order to access Grant who was often found there, enjoying a cigar and brandy. [ [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5167187] - NPR discussion of Ulysses Grant and origins of the term lobbyist.]
In her book "Lobbying and Advocacy: Winning Strategies, Resources, Recommendations, Ethics and Ongoing Compliance for Lobbyists and Washington Advocates" [Deanna Gelak, "Lobbying and Advocacy: Winning Strategies, Resources, Recommendations, Ethics and Ongoing Compliance for Lobbyists and Washington Advocates", TheCapitol.Net, 2008, LobbyingAndAdvocacy.com.] , Deanna Gelak, a former president of the [http://www.alldc.org/ American League of Lobbyists] , quotes an appearance of the term "lobbying" in print as early as 1820:
"Other letters from Washington affirm, that members of the Senate, when the compromise question was to be taken in the House, were not only "lobbying about the Representatives' Chamber," but were active in endeavoring to intimidate certain weak representatives by insulting threats to dissolve the Union."
April 1, 1820,
New Hampshire Sentinel
Viewpoints on lobbying
Though many see lobbying as a potential corruption to the system, others disagree.
Bill Clintondefended his wife's reception of lobbyist money for her campaign by saying: [ [http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=103174&title=bill-clinton-uncut Bill Clinton - Uncut | The Daily Show | Comedy Central ] ]
Thomas Sowelldefends corporate lobbying as simply an example of a group having better knowledge of its interests than the people at large do of theirs. [Sowell, Thomas. Knowledge and Decisions]
Lobbying by country
Many jurisdictions, in response to concerns of corruption, require the formal registration of lobbyists who come in contact with government representatives. Since 1995, under the federal
Lobbying Disclosure Act(usc|2|1601|1612), most persons who are paid to make direct "lobbying contacts" with members of Congress and officials of the federal executive branch are required to register and file reports twice a year. If lobbyist neglect to register, they are susceptible to criminal charges and harsh penalties. However, there are ongoing conflicts between organizations that wish to impose greater restrictions on lobbying activities, and groups that argue that such restrictions infringe on the right to petitiongovernment officials, which is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
For example, in January 2004, the U.S. Senate considered S. 1, an omnibus "ethics reform" bill. This bill contained a provision (Section 220) to establish federal regulation, for the first time, of certain efforts to encourage "grassroots lobbying." The bill said that "'grassroots lobbying' means the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to Federal officials or to encourage other members of the general public to do the same." This provision was opposed by a broad array of organizations, including the
American Civil Liberties Union, the National Right to Life Committee, and the National Rifle Association, who argued that attempts by constituents to influence their representatives are at the heart of representational democracy, and that neither such contacts nor efforts to motivate such contacts should be considered "lobbying." On January 18, 2007, the U.S. Senate voted 55-43 to strike Section 220 from the bill. However, other proposed regulations on "grassroots lobbying" remain under consideration in the 110th Congress.
Another controversial bill, the "
Executive Branch Reform Act, H.R. 985, would require over 8,000 Executive Branch officials to report into a public database nearly any "significant contact" from any "private party." Although promoted as a regulation on "lobbyists," the bill defines "private party" as "any person or entity" except "Federal, State, or local government official or a person representing such an official." This, under the proposal, anyone who contacts a covered government official is in effect deemed to be a lobbyist, unless the communicator is another government official or government staff person. The bill defines "significant contact" to be any "oral or written communication (including electronic communication) . . . in which the private party seeks to influence official action by any officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States." The bill is supported by some organizations as an expansion of "government in the sunshine," but other groups oppose it as an infringing on the right to petition by making it impossible for citizens to communicate their views on controversial issues without having their names and viewpoints entered into a government database. [ [http://www.nrlc.org/FreeSpeech/WaxmanDavisHR984.pdf Memorandum] : "Congressman Waxman advances grave new threat to citizens' 'right to petition' government officials," by Douglas Johnson and Susan Muskett, J.D., National Right to Life Committee, February 20, 2007.] The U.S. Department of Justicehas raised constitutional and other objections to the bill. [ [http://www.nrlc.org/FreeSpeech/DoJletteronHR984.pdf Letter from Richard D. Hertling] , Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice, to the Honorable Henry A. Waxman, Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, March 8, 2007.]
U.S. Supreme Courthas rejected congressional efforts to regulate grassroots communications as a form of "lobbying," on constitutional grounds. In 1953, in a suit involving a congressional resolution authorizing a committee to investigate "all lobbying activities intended to influence, encourage, promote, or retard legislation," the Supreme Court narrowly construed "lobbying activities" to mean only "direct" lobbying (which the Court described as "representations made directly to the Congress, its members, or its committees"), and rejected a broader interpretation of "lobbying" out of First Amendment concerns. ["United States v. Rumely", 345 U.S. 41 (1953)] . The Supreme Court thereby affirmed the earlier decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said:
In support of the power of Congress it is argued that lobbying is within the regulatory power of Congress, that influence upon public opinion is indirect lobbying, since therefore attempts to influence public opinion are subject to regulation by the Congress. Lobbying, properly defined, is subject to control by Congress, . . . But the term cannot be expanded by mere definition so as to include forbidden subjects. Neither semantics nor syllogisms can break down the barrier which protects the freedom of people to attempt to influence other people by books and other public writings. . . . It is said that lobbying itself is an evil and a danger. We agree that lobbying by personal contact may be an evil and a potential danger to the best in legislative processes. It is said that indirect lobbying by the pressure of public opinion on the Congress is an evil and a danger. That is not an evil; it is a good, the healthy essence of the democratic process. . . .
["Rumely v. United States", 197 F.2d 166, 173-174, 177 (D.C. Cir. 1952).]
While lobbyists' precise influence over legislative decision-making in the United States can never be fully determined, non-profit organizations such as the Center for Responsive Politics, or
Opensecrets, attempt to track money in politics, and its effect on elections and public policy. [ [http://www.opensecrets.org/about/index.asp About the Center for Responsive Politics ] ]
Brusselswas only born 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 Parliamentin 1979. Up until then the Parliament consisted 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 which both created the qualified majorityvote for taking decisions in the Council and enhanced the role of the Parliament, again making EU legislation more complex and lobbying more important and attractive for stakeholders. In short, the stronger the EU developed from a Member States organization to its own political player in the world, the more policy areas it covered, the more important it became as a lobbying target. With the EU enlargement 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.
In the wake of the Abramoff scandal in Washington and in light of the massive impact that this had on the lobbying scene in the U.S.A., the rules for lobbying in the EU — which until now only consist of a non-binding code of conduct — may also be tightened [ [http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/kallas/doc/com2006_0194_4_en.pdf Green Paper on European Transparency Initiative]
European Commission, 2006. Retrieved August 4 2007] .
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, the Council, and the European Parliament. [Kierkegaard, Sylvia (2005) How the Cookie (almost crumbled). Computer Law and Security Report Vol.21 Issue 4] 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,
interest groupsroutinely 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 rapporteurand the chairman of the committee. The rapporteurs are MEPs appointed by Committees to prepare the parliament’s response to the Commission’s proposal and to those measures taken by the Parliament itself.
There are currently around 15,000 lobbyists in
Brussels(consultants, lawyers, associations, corporations, NGOs etc.) seeking 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 tanks (1%), (Lehmann, 2003, pp iii).Fact|date=February 2007
United Kingdomlobbying traditionally referred to the attempt to influence an MP's vote by either their fellow parliamentary colleagues, by one of their constituents or by any outside organisation. Currently the term often refers to the more narrow usage of the operation of "lobbyists" hired to represent the views of an organisation.Fact|date=March 2008 This industry has been steadily growing in recent years and is now estimated to be worth $1.9 billion and employ 14,000 people.Fact|date=February 2007 A recent report by the Hansard Societyhas shown some MPs are approached over 100 times a week.Fact|date=February 2007.
The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) is a self regulatory body for UK public affairs companies. Its code of conduct promotes 'transparency' and forbids certain practices, such as making payments to MPs.Fact|date=February 2007.
In addition to "open" lobbying, the United Kingdom,
political partieshave been accused of trying to raise campaign funds by offering peeragesand other honors. Since peers sit in the House of Lords, part of the UK legislature, they are in a position to initiate or amend Bills on their way to becoming Acts of Parliament- a very influential position. The rules of Parliament do, however, require participants in debates to 'declare their interest'. The 'sale' of peerages is a criminal offence. To circumvent this law, it is alleged that some contributions thus solicited, are given not as outright gifts but as loans. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4861136.stm Police loans inquiry is widened] , BBC.]
France, the political system does not integrate the lobbying practice. Indeed, owing to Rousseau’s influence, the influence of particular interests is currently considered as bad. The state is seen as the only body able to define what French call “general interest”. While lobbying has always been practiced in France, organized lobbying only made a significant appearance in France 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”). In order 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 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) [ [http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/18/10/38944365.pdf French National Assembly : Motion for a Resolution on Lobbying (21 November 2006)] ] 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.
Only countries where lobbying is regulated in parliament bills are: Georgia (1998), Lithuania (2001) Poland (2005) and Hungary (2006). All require registration of professional lobbyists. So far, there is no complex lobbying regulation in other European countries. There were many attempts, but with no satisfactory results. [ [http://lobbyists.info/glossary.cfm GLOSSARY] - Alphabetical list of terms associated with the Lobbying industry.]
* Geiger,: EU Lobbying handbook, A guide to modern participation in Brussels, 244 pages, ISBN 3-9811316-0-6, Helios Media GmbH, 2006 (http://www.helios-media.com/de/information/buecher/lobbying_handbuch.php)
* [http://lobbyists.info/glossary.cfm GLOSSARY] - Alphabetical list of terms associated with the Lobbying industry.
* Geiger, Andreas: From a lobbyist's point of view, European Agenda 1/2006)
* The Bulletin, 16 March 2006, p. 14, Lobbying Europe: facts and fiction
* The European Lawyer, December 2005/January 2006, p. 9, The lobbyists have landed
* Financial Times, 3 October 2005, p. 8, Brussels braces for a U.S. lobbying invasion
* Public Affairs News, November 2004, p. 34, Judgement Call
* The European Lawyer, December 2004/January 2005, p. 26, Lifting the lid on lobbying
* Geiger, Andreas: Lobbyists — the Devil’s Advocates?, "
European Competition Law Review", Volume 24, issue 11/2003, p. 559
* Wiszowaty, Marcin: Legal Regulation of Lobbying in New Members States of the European Union, [http://se2.isn.ch/serviceengine/FileContent?serviceID=10&fileid=5BC410AA-F6A3-9C0B-5D4D-103D22DFB699&lng=en Arbeitspapiere und Materialien - Forschungsstelle Osteuropa an der Universitat Bremen, No. 74: Heiko Pleines (ed.): Participation of Civil Society in New Modes of Governance. The Case of the New Member States. Part 2: Questions of Accountability] . February 2006 (PDF).
title = Lobbying
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* [http://lobbyists.info/ Lobbyists.info] - The largest, comprehensive database of 22,000 registered lobbyists. Contains searchable profiles of lobbyists and government relations professionals, their clients and issues.
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20021203202009/http://www.fortune.com/lists/power25/index.html Top 25 Lobbying Groups] - "Fortune" lists the top 25 lobbying groups as of 1999.
* [http://www.publicintegrity.org/lobby/ LobbyWatch] - a project of the
Center for Public Integritywith reports on lobbyists and lobbying efforts as well as a searchable database
* [http://sopr.senate.gov/ U.S. Senate Office of Public Records] - a searchable database of registered lobbyists
* [http://www.opensecrets.org/ OpenSecrets.org]
* [http://www.nolobby.com/ NoLobby.com]
* [http://www.nrlc.org/FreeSpeech/index.html 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.
* [http://www.fprablog.com/2006/04/the_10_rules_of_public_affairs.php 10 Rules of Public Affairs]
* [http://www.publicaffairslinks.co.uk/ Public Affairs Links]
* [http://www.alter-eu.org Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU)]
* [http://www.corporateeurope.org/ Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)]
* [http://www.spinwatch.org Spinwatch]
* [http://www.lobbyingtransparency.org/ Alliance for Lobbying Transparency] - UK based campaign
* [http://www.oecd.org/document/48/0,3343,fr_2649_201185_38946352_1_1_1_1,00.html OECD : Special Session on Lobbying: Enhancing Transparency and Accountability. 7-8 June 2007]
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