Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Q: How Does Lobbying Work in Government?

A:  Whether lobbyist works for big organizations or the general public, their goals are vgrassroots lobbyingery similar. Lobbyists must have a niche for persuasion. Part of their main role is to convince politicians to vote in a way that favors what they believe. Lobbying sometimes is direct, other times it is more indirect. According to the Princeton Review “Direct lobbying means actually meeting with congressman and providing them with information pertinent to a bill being voted on.” (“The Princeton Review,” 2011)

The lobbyist works with legislators and aides, both are career options for former lobbyist. The process involves the advocacy of an interest that is affected by the decisions of government leaders. Interest groups have the ability to lobby governments and governments can lobby one another. The legal dictionary points out, “Although lobbying as a whole serves as checks and balances safeguard on the legislative process, individual lobbyist are not necessarily equal”(“Lobbyists,” 2011). Lobbyist are much different from voters, they get just one single vote. A lobbyist on the other hand uses the power of influence and hefty finances.
The Ford Pinto disaster in the late seventies is a case-on-point where lobbyist made an impact that affected government action. In the Ford Pinto case there were several deaths due to a mechanical defect where the gas tank in the rear of the vehicle exploded. The government and the people wanted that vehicle off the road, but lobbyists that were paid by the profiting Ford Motor Company slowed the process, thus more deaths accumulated. (“The Pinto Disaster,” 2011)
There is an ongoing debate about whether of not Lobbyist should be regulated. There is a negative connotation associated with lobbyist. They have been accused of corrupting the majority involved in the political process. According to an article on The Free Dictionary (“Lobbyists,” 2011), it says that, “there has been debate in the US over the appropriate role of lobbyist in our democratic society since the 1940′s.”
Lobbying is a profession of a variety of different individuals. Many have changed careers over the years. There are no certifications of requirements necessary to become a lobbyist. Most at least have an undergraduate degree of some sort. Sky is the limit for most lobbyists, especially for those who know many people in the world of politics. The more influence you have the better chance of things going your way.
In conclusion, lobbying involves the support of an interest that is affected, actually or potentially, by the decisions of government leaders. Individuals and interest groups alike can lobby governments, and governments can even lobby each other. The practice of lobbying is considered so essential to the proper functioning of the U.S. government that it is specifically protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people peaceably … to petition the Government for a right of complaint.”(U.S. Const. amend. I)
What is indirect lobbying? Other terms most commonly used for “indirect lobbying” is grassroots lobbying. Indirect lobbying is any attempt to influence a vote of an elected official such as, legislators, governors, or state boards by attempting to affect the opinions of the public and asking the public to contact their elected representatives about that legislation.
Examples of indirect lobbying are: 1. Sending a letter to supporters explaining a current bill and asking them to contact their legislators, 2. Speaking at a rally or event where you discuss your position on a bill and ask people to contact their legislators. The key here is asking the people or the public to take action to make changes. Often time’s grassroots lobbyists work exclusively for humanitarian causes and there are organizations that lobby on behalf of various issues. For example, The World Wildlife Fund lobbies to protect endangered animals and The Borgen Project lobbies for greater U.S. involvement in addressing global poverty.

By M.Baker

References
-Lobbyist. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.princetonreview.com/Careers.aspx?cid=88
-Should Lobbyist Be Strictly Regulated? (2011). Retrieved from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com
-The Pinto Disaster [Magazine]. (2011). The Pinto Disaster. Retrieved from http://www.stayfreemagazine.org/archives/23/ford_pinto.html

-U.S. Const. amend. I. Retrieved from http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am1

-The World Wildlife Fund, http://www.worldwildlife.org/how/index.html#supportWWF

-The Borgen Project, http://www.borgenproject.org/act



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