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Published on December 31, 2007

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Slide1:  Lobbying in the United States Lyn Withey, Vice President Federal and International Public Affairs History of Lobbying:  History of Lobbying Origin - English barons in 1215 were granted the right to petition King John if they felt their rights under the Magna Carta were violated. In American use in 1829 in NYC and Washington, DC State Capitol Willard Hotel - As lobbying activity increased, so did interest in regulating it. First disclosure requirement enacted in 1936. Lobbying Practicum:  Lobbying Practicum Who are we? What is the role of lobbying in the political process? What do we do and how do we do it? What does it mean for you? Who are we, the lobbyists?:  Who are we, the lobbyists? Lobbying today: Defined as Efforts to influence policy makers, whether legislative or executive branch, to take specific actions with respect to the introduction, development, or passage of legislation, rules, regulations, or programs. Direct and indirect contact with policy makers Preparation, planning, research and background work to make such contacts Lobbyists individuals who spend at least 20% of their time engaged in lobbying activities over a six-month period. Lobbying Practicum Who are we, the lobbyists? :  Who are we, the lobbyists? Lobbying Practicum Nearly 25,000 registered federal lobbyists in 2003 Lobbying community covers virtually every segment of the population Business Labor Environmental organizations Conservation groups Teachers Health care workers Social workers Religious organizations Foreign governments, states and municipalities Types of Lobbyists :  Types of Lobbyists Lobbying Practicum In-House - Hired by businesses, labor unions, associations, and organizations for the purpose of influencing policy on behalf of the organization. Associations - Employees engaged to lobby on behalf of the association members (American Forest and Paper Association; Business Roundtable; National Association of Manufacturers). Coalitions - Formed among groups with like-minded interests to influence public policy deliberations. (Ex: tax coalitions, trade coalitions, litigation reform coalitions) Types of Lobbyists (cont.) :  Types of Lobbyists (cont.) Lobbying Practicum Law Firms – Policy advocacy sections represent clients on public policy issues and provide lobbying services. Lobby Firms – Boutique, but often sizable, groups of professional lobbyists who take on a variety of clients either on retention or to lobby on a specific issue PR Firms – Many have recently consolidated with lobby firms to provide full service lobbying, grassroots, and PR campaigns What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? :  What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? Lobbying in the U.S. Recognized from the earliest days of our Republic as a right of citizens to be safeguarded and encouraged. The First Amendment to the Constitution ensures the people’s right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances” and also guarantees the right of association and freedom of speech. James Madison Factions, or special interests, are essential to real democracy and constraints will be achieved by encouraging full competition among groups and implementing checks and balances through the legislative process. What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? :  What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? Lobbying in the U.S. Thomas Jefferson: “If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors shall all become wolves.” “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.” What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? :  What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? Lobbying in the U.S. Serves as an extension of the representative process of government. Gives a voice to a multitude of interests which otherwise might not be expressed or heard. Provides a cross-section of views on public policy issues, not necessarily limited by party, geography, demography, (e.g. Mothers Against Drunk Driving) or which may reflect a particular societal segment (AARP, NAACP, AMA). Provides expertise not readily available to policy makers. What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? :  What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? Lobbying in the U.S. “Lobbyists are, in many cases, expert technicians and capable of explaining complex and difficult subjects in a clear, understandable fashion…. Because our congressional representation is based on geographical boundaries, the lobbyists who speak for the various economic, commercial and other functional interests of this country serve a very useful purpose and have assumed an important role in the legislative process.” - John F. Kennedy, before becoming President What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? :  What Role Does it Play in the Political Process? Lobbying in the U.S. Participatory democracy is the foundation of our political system, and lobbyists are an important manifestation of public participation. They work to ensure that voices of different interests are heard by policy makers. Ensure that citizens are informed of the positions taken by policy makers, so that the citizens can make informed decisions at the polls What Do We Do and How? :  What Do We Do and How? Lobbying in the U.S. Lobbying = More than just making direct contact with policy makers Understand the process of policy making. Assess how issues and actions will affect your interests. Be alert to trends and political reactions which can impact your interests Assess allied and conflicting interests. What Do We Do and How? - :  What Do We Do and How? - Lobbying in the U.S. Direct Advocacy Develop the most compelling case - not just from your perspective; but also from that of your audience. Identify policy makers whom you can seek to influence and who can make a difference in the outcome. If you don’t have direct access to key players, you’ll need to assess how to develop access. Retain outside help Align with others who have common interests and access Build cases with policy makers with whom you have a relationship and have them advocate on your behalf. What Do We Do and How? - :  What Do We Do and How? - Lobbying in the U.S. Indirect Advocacy Educate aligned interests (employees, suppliers, customers, interest groups) about an issue and its potential impact. Urge them to contact their policy makers. Develop coalitions to support your position Initiate media campaigns when necessary What Do We Do and How? :  What Do We Do and How? Lobbying in the U.S. Inform Policy Makers of Your Interests Don’t assume that they know. Don’t assume that they care. Don’t assume they will act…unless you ask. Keys to Success :  Keys to Success Lobbying in the U.S. Anticipation: A continuous assessment of political developments pertaining to your interests will prevent surprises. Preparation: Building personal relationships with policy makers and staff before you have a problem is crucial. Share good news about your country, people, business, relations with the US House caucuses Understand all sides of the issue. Know the Force Alignment: Who’s on your side? Where is the opposition? Keys to Success (cont.) :  Keys to Success (cont.) Lobbying in the U.S. Assess the level of response you will need Networking and coalition building - Who shares your interests? Communication: It must be two-way. Must listen as well as speak. Be prepared to find areas of common interest or compromise. Strategic agility: Be able to develop alternative paths to a single objective. Be flexible to adapt to changing circumstances, winds, and political forces. Understand the process Keys to Success (cont.) :  Keys to Success (cont.) Lobbying in the U.S. The most important element is integrity. Be sure that the information you provide is truthful and not misleading. Show your awareness of other points of view and contrary arguments. Keep your interest in perspective of other issues and priorities for your target audience. Don’t personalize your positions or issues. Maintain positive relations…even when you disagree. Remember: alliances constantly shift; today’s adversary could be tomorrow’s ally.

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