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 ?
And while the group is not optimistic its aims will be met by the Culture Committee's Review of the Welsh Language, which it believes is too Labour-dominated, its commitment to political lobbying means it will be unlikely to jeopardise any gains by politically-unpopular actions.
However, Cymuned founder member Simon Brooks has admitted that his policy of political lobbying has been a failure even before the Assembly publishes its long-awaited strategy on the Welsh language.
Promoting Made In Chelsea before entering the jungle, the 23-year-old said: "I've always thought I'd get into political lobbying or something.
While some people are dying, others are conducting love affairs, recovering from illness, engaging in political lobbying, shopping, writing letters, mourning their dead, or scheming.
I think I will always stay in the political lobbying spectrum of Arkansas," said Spakes, who's from Beebe originally.
Meanwhile, Halling moves to Bayer's headquarters in Leverkusen to head the company's corporate policy and strategy unit, with responsibility for Bayer's political lobbying positioning.
Almost all the money for the Yes on 98 campaign has come from the political lobbying arm of Stand for Children, a multi-state nonprofit education advocacy group established in 1996.
The food Industry has known since the 1950s that sugar is a danger to health, but political lobbying and the taxes from the use of sugar in food and beverages have succeeded in deflecting attempts by the scientific and medical professions to limit and/or remove sugar from its products.
Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock said the change was to stop taxpayers' money funding political lobbying.
Scottish Racing was set up 16 years ago to promote the sport in the country and is involved in political lobbying and assisting with media coverage and group sponsorship.
While such and similar campaigns should elicit outrage and draw pressure from political lobbying groups to influence the direction of the candidates' campaigns, reactions by those involved have been subdued and totally ineffective.
The president's decision comes after a seven-year campaign by environmentalists, which included protest marches, civil disobedience actions, and political lobbying.