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 ?
In the wake of the Beer Institute's recent decision to tout the importance of the beer industry as a whole, the Wine Institute, the lobbying organization for California winemakers, has started its own industry-wide ad campaign in a few test markets.
At the end of September, the Motion Picture Association of America, the major studios' lobbying organization, issued a member-wide ban on screeners, special DVDs and videos that have been customarily sent to academy and other awards-giving groups' members for more than a decade.
Rove pronounced the meeting "very heartening" Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, promised that his lobbying organization would coordinate the effort.
This national Catholic social-justice lobbying organization distributes a 1996 Post Convention Election Chart summarizing the positions of presidential candidates on peace and justice issues.
based lobbying organization, says the council can play a significant role in creating much needed economic opportunities for everyone involved.
29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today's revelation that Michael Bloomberg's "Everytown for Gun Safety" lobbying organization has donated another million dollars to the already-swollen Initiative 594 campaign war chest confirms that a "handful of billionaires" are intent on buying the November election, and along with it, the privacy rights of Washington State citizens, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said.
Jeff Brain, president of Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment, said his group plans to transform itself after the election into a good- government lobbying organization, and he predicted that rent control will be one of the issues it will support.
Perhaps the best example of the likelihood of success comes from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, a pro-lottery lobbying organization seemingly oblivious to its own irony.
The Community Mortgage Lenders of America (CML America) is a new lobbying organization that focuses on protecting the interests of independent mortgage bankers.
Consistently ranked the most effective lobbying organization in Lansing, the Michigan Chamber represents approximately 6,800 employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce across the state.
If Burbank holds out that the deal is contingent on a curfew, don't cut the check,'' said Neil Bennett, regional vice president for the Air Transport Association, a lobbying organization for airlines.
But The New York Times also often quotes Michael Oppenheimer as an objective expert, though Oppenheimer is a full-time employee of the Environmental Defense Fund, a lobbying organization that benefits from greenhouse scares.