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practice and profession of influencing governmental decisions, carried out by agents who present the concerns of special interests to legislators and administrators. The term originated in the United States of the 1830s, when representatives of interest groups tended to congregate in the lobbies of Congress and state legislatures. It is now used in a broader sense to include attempts to influence any governmental actions.

In the United States lobbying has become an accepted and ubiquitous part of the political system; while federal and state legislators are technically representatives of geographical areas, they spend much of their time with lobbyists, and can be said at times to be responding to interest groups rather than to their constituents, to the degree that legislation drafted by lobbyists is sometimes introduced. Organizations such as corporations, financial institutions, labor unions, professional associations, educational groups, medical interests, farm alliances, and various public interest and social issue groups like Common Cause, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, the National Rifle Association, and the National Coalition for the Homeless maintain permanent lobbies in Washington and in state capitals to protect and further their interests. Lobbyists often deal directly with governmental decisionmakers, supplying technical information, making political threats or promises, and supplying friendship, entertainment, and other favors. Their indirect methods include the use of the mass media and mailing and telephone campaigns (some purporting to come from the "grass roots") and the organization of campaign funding vehicles known as political action committeespolitical action committee
(PAC), U.S. organization formed by a corporation, labor union, or association to raise money for political activity. Funds can be gathered by voluntary contributions from members, employees, or shareholders.
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The potential for corruption, especially bribery of officials, has given lobbying an unsavory connotation and has led to many attempts to regulate it, first at the state and later at the national level. The basic federal law has been the Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946, which requires registration of and regular financial reports from all individuals and agents seeking to influence legislation. In 1995, Congress passed a new bill intended to strengthen registration and disclosure requirements and to include within the definition of "lobbyist" some, e.g., lawyers, who had not previously been so designated.


See V. O. Key, Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups (5th ed. 1964); A. M. Scott et al., Congress and Lobbies (1966); S. Farkas, Urban Lobbying (1971); G. Wooton, Interest Groups (1971); M. T. Hayes, Lobbyists and Legislators (1984); C. Barnes, The Politics of Policy-Making and Pressure Groups (1987); R. G. Kaiser, So Damn Much Money (2009).

References in periodicals archive ?
Findlay and Wellisz (1982, 1983) develop a model where the action of two opposing lobby groups determine commercial policy, but the free rider problem is assumed away.
Of particular interest in this study is the effects of the degree of internal lobby group organization on a group's ability to effectively compete for the regulated input.
They argue that industry lobby groups will favor inefficient pollution control because this leads to an increase in the level of protection.
Environmentalists and industrialists are assumed to organize into lobby groups coordinating campaign contribution offers to the government, whereas workers have no stake in the policy outcome and thus do not organize.
Some lobby groups such as Canadians for Gun Control, for example, said the new rules could be used by politicians who favour the gun lobby.
Lawyers for the Non-Smokers Rights' Association, said the new rules could discriminate against smaller and poorer lobby groups.
The meetings involving independent non-executive directors will take place with major institutional investors and lobby groups such as the Association of British Insurers and the National Association of Pension Funds.
His appointment as stand-in director general of the business lobby group follows the sacking of David Lennan last month.
In recent weeks there have been reports of local Chambers flirting with rival lobby group the CBI and possible defections.
By making the absurd claim that Catholic teaching was uncertain whether homosexual courtship was sinful, the teachers' union only served to strengthen the position of the homosexual lobby groups.
These powerful lobby groups know this and are pushing to create major loopholes in our state's laws, which they will then exploit in an effort to increase their market share in Texas -- all without any concern for the welfare of our economy, our dry county residents, or our efforts to stop underage drinking," Gray added.
Congress and powerful anti-choice lobby groups are pushing laws that restrict contraception and abortion services.