lobbying


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lobbying,

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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 (PACs).

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.

Bibliography

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 ?
All delegates to the Congressional City Conference will receive a City Lobby Day kit when they register, which provides background information about the six lobbying priorities and information about how to participate in City Lobby Day.
Individual organizations with the highest lobbying expenditures include the American Medical Association ($17,000,000), American Hospital Association ($10,000,000), Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, Schering Corporation, and Health Insurance Association of America ($7,000,000 apiece), Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($6,000,000), and Eli Lilly & Company ($5,000,000).
Nonprofit organizations that are new to lobbying can calculate the amount of money they are permitted to spend on it under IRS rules based on their budget.
Stewart estimates only 15% to 20% of small and minority enterprises use the services of government affairs or lobbying firms.
So far, while the press has reported on Linda Daschle's lobbying efforts, it hasn't elevated it to anything like a bona fide scandal.
Bill Shingleton, the lobbying expert at the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group that tracks money in politics and elections, explains that the legal definition is very narrow and only counts money spent on direct contact with members of Congress, the executive branch, or their staffs.
The Mexican lobbying industry was born two years ago--specifically, on July 6, 1997.
Traditional lobbying, aimed at changing minds or at least confirming positions, has also run up against an increasingly rigid mindset among more and more legislators.
Several testifiers said proposed regulations did not provide adequate guidance for the allocation of costs for lobbying activities involving both lobbying and nonlobbying purposes.
We believe that the diversity and professional training of our members, coupled with the Institute's status as a tax-exempt membership association, enable us to bring an important, balanced, and practical perspective to the issues raised by the proposed regulations under section 162(e) of the Internal Revenue Code, relating to the definition of the term "influencing legislation" for purposes of the lobbying deduction disallowance rules.
The decisions on spending and lobbying priorities and the opinions that emanate from these offices are not those of the 55 million to 60 million American Catholics but those of the 300 bishops.
WASHINGTON -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which specializes in constitutional law, said today it is launching a nationwide campaign to oppose legislation on Capitol Hill that would drastically affect the operation of churches and non-profit organizations by restricting free speech by classifying them as "grassroots lobbying firms" subject to governmental regulation.