Lobbying is an act of persuading or influencing the actions, policies and other decisions of officials in the legislation and the members of the regulatory agency. The lobbyists are hired by organizations, companies, groups, nonprofits, etc. to influence the elected official at all levels of the government. A lobbyist can be among the legislator’s constituencies; a professional lobbyist’s business is to direct the legislation and regulate the decisions that are made by the government. They usually work at the federal level and meet the Congress and encourage them to vote in specific ways which may benefit the clients.
Sometimes, lobbying can mean more than just influencing the government; a lobbyist does a lot of groundwork; they research and analyze the legislation and the regulatory proposals. The lobbyists educate the government officials and the corporate officers about the various issues they have analyzed and examined. Some of them also work to influence the public opinion by having advertising campaigns and through influential leaders or celebrities. The lobbyist claim that they want the elected officials to hear both sides of an issue before any decision is made.
Lobbying Disclosure Act:
A lobbyist is defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 at a federal level. The state puts some regulations as of who can influence the members of the legislation. One must earn at least over $3000 for three months from a lobbying activity; he must have more than one contact to influence and must spend more than 20% of his time convincing a client for three months. Most of them start their career by working on the Capitol Hill in the congressional office. They need to have a good communication skill and knowledge on the various legislative processes and about the industry they are influencing. There is a lobbying certificate program offered by the State Government Affairs Council, and it helps people who want to gain knowledge of the various legislative processes and help them become a lobbyist.
They work for institutions and interest groups like labour unions, corporations, charities, environmental groups, colleges and universities, senior citizens organizations, churches, and state, local or foreign governments.
The lobbying firms are requested to register within 45 days with the Secretary of the U.S. Senate and the clerk of the House representative. Some of the most significant lobbying groups in America are the National Association of Realtors, the National Rifle Association, the American Association of Retired Persons, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.
The lobbyists are sometimes portrayed under the negative lights by the media as they show their influence over the policymakers. There are some controversies, in fact when Obama took office in the year 2009 he told his voters that he would not hire a lobbyist in the White House and be influenced by them, but there are times when lobbyists are described under the positive lights. The Former President John F. Kennedy has described them as expert technicians, and they explain complex subjects in clear and understandable manner.