Lobbyists are activists who seek, usually through networks of existing relationships, to influence legislators and members of the government to enact legislation favorable to them or to groups they represent. Not only is lobbying an inevitable and necessary result of the first amendment, in fact everyone who advocates for any position is a lobbyist. Not all are professionals.
Professional lobbying is a regulated industry and protected by our constitution. Lobbying is simply an extension and result of free speech.
Most lobbyist are also experts in their areas of law and policy and area frequently helpful to legislators who are faced with far more issues than they can master. It is likely that our government would grind to a halt with people who have a professional motivation to become such experts.
Who do lobbyists work for?
Anyone and everyone. Some lobbyists work on their own behalf. Special interest groups, industries, professional organizations, as well as private businesses and organizations. All of them need and make liberal use of lobbyists.
What industries rely most on lobbyists?
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products – $63,168,503
Insurance – $38,280,437
Electric Utilities – $33,551,556
Business Associations – $32,065,206
Oil & Gas – $31,453,590
Electronics Mfg & Equipment – $28,489,437
Securities & Investment – $25,425,076
Hospitals/Nursing Homes – $23,609,607
Air Transport – $22,459,204
Health Professionals – $22,175,579
What kind of training is needed to become a lobbyist?
There are no set rules in this, as the only requirement is the practical ability to network and influence. Most lobbyists have college degrees and have extensive experience working in government themselves, frequently working as staffers in legislative offices and often having been elected officials themselves. While there are no set requirements, there are a number of training and continuing education opportunities that lobbyists are wise to take advantage of.
Are lobbyists registered?
Since 1995, professional lobbyists at the federal level must be registered with the Secretary of the Senate. States have their own rules for state level lobbying.
Are there restrictions on gifts lobbyists may offer legislators?
As a general rule, at the federal level, no gifts are allowed, though as you can imagine there are creative ways to skirt the letter of this law.