THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Political Terminology, The NamoLeague Times
Tags: , , , , ,
LOBBYING: IT IS NOT A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION, IT’S THE NERVE OF THE MODERN CORPORATE COMMUNICATION

Lobbying – a word that is used very frequently and commonly – but its meaning is often misunderstood. One definition that makes the connotation clear is offered in the ‘Principles for the Ethical Conduct of Lobbying’ developed by Georgetown’s Woodstock Center: “Lobbying means the deliberate attempt to influence political decisions through various forms of advocacy directed at policymakers on behalf of another person, organization or group.”

A lobbyist is an activist employed by an interest group to promote their positions to legislatures. A lobbyist can also work to change public opinion through advertising campaigns or by influencing ‘opinion leaders’ or pundits, thereby creating a climate for the change that his or her employer desires.

THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD
The term lobbying has been used since as long as 1820. There are different beliefs regarding its etymology. The BBC believes that the word originates from the gathering of the Members of Parliament and the peer groups in the hallways (lobbies) of Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates.

Another story believes that the word comes from the act of meeting important people in the lobby of the hotel they are staying. It is said that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, where it was used by Ulysses Grant to describe the political wheelers and dealers who frequented the hotel’s lobby to access Grant – who was often there to enjoy a cigar and brandy.

In American politics, most lobbyist organizations are headquartered on or near K Street in Washington DC, so ‘K Street’ has become somewhat synonymous for lobbying.

MISCONCEPTIONS AND FACTS
Lobbying is often misunderstood as consultation or yet another act of bribery. Also, lobbyist has a negative connotation these days, which is not the case. The reason for this is that a lobbyist rarely makes the news unless he or she has infringed the regulations. The caricature is as little familiar as the name: well-built, cigar-smoking men who wine and dine lawmakers while slipping money into their pockets. However, the facts are little known to the public.

Lobbying involves much more than simply persuading legislators. Its principal elements include researching and analyzing legislation or regulatory proposals; monitoring and reporting on developments; attending regulatory hearings; working with coalitions interested in the same issues; and then educating not only Government officials but also employees and corporate officers as to the implications of various changes. What most laymen regard as lobbying – the actual communication with Government officials – represents the smallest portion of a lobbyist’s time; a far greater proportion is devoted to the other aspects of preparation, information and communication.

THE MISUSE OF POWERS
“The problem is not lobbying, it’s the misuse of authority and discretionary powers. Middlemen will always exist in a corrupted and opaque system that privileges influence peddling.” This is the take of IBN on ‘Whether lobbying should be legalized’.

On one hand, where lobbying helps to voice the opinions, on the other, it supports campaigns with large amounts of money and sways opinions. And therefore it limits the mobility of politicians by creating the sense that they are owed.

Yet, there are examples of bad actors in all the professions. To paint all lobbyists with the same brush as those who have run into conflict with the laws, however, is unfair simply because it is not supported by the facts.

IT’S IMPORTANT
The Government lays down many rules and restrictions on lobbying to prevent any sort of misuse. It is an important part of any democracy as Government decisions affect both people and organizations, and information must be provided in order to produce informed decisions. Public officials cannot make fair and well-versed decisions without considering information from a broad range of interested parties.

Indeed, networking is the name of the game in lobbying, where people are hired as much for who they know as what they know.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20Movers%20And%20Shakers_588

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s