“Lobbying” seems to have become a dirty word in recent years given the recent illegal activities of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The truth of the matter is the current laws caught Jack Abramoff. Lobbying accomplished ethically and professionally is making sure the proper government officials hear and understand both sides of an issue before making a decision. Lobbyists are hired by an association, corporation, non-profit organization and even communities to get their voice heard by (and hopefully influence) our policy makers. Every school child knows the phrase “No taxation without representation”. In today’s world, lobbyists ARE the representation of associations & businesses to our elected governmental representatives.
WHAT A LOBBYIST DOES1
- Researching – legislation or regulatory proposals
- Monitoring – staying informed of and effectively reporting on developments and governmental issues
- Attending hearings –
- Working with Coalitions – developing and coordinating with grassroots efforts
- Educating – informing officials and the public
Going even further than that, a good lobbyist will…
- help you develop an effective policy strategy,
- proactively keep you apprised of any new legislation that may impact your organization,
- use the latest in communication technology to connect you to government policy makers and the public,
- assist you with drafting new legislation,
- develop strategies to enact new laws and change existing laws, and
- address issues in compliance for international and federal regulations.
In short, a good lobbying firm will be your connection to government and look out for your interests.
SELECTING A GOOD LOBBYIST
Your first stop should be ALL (American League of Lobbyists – http://www.alldc.org). For 30 years, part of ALL’s mission has been to “enhance the development of professionalism, competence, and high ethical standards for advocates in the public policy arena”, in other words, promote ethical lobbying.
Your lobbyist should be well connected with the policy makers and government agencies, have a good reputation, and should be experienced in dealing with congressional committees and government agencies. No lobbyist will have a 100% success rate. For every individual congressional debate there will typically be an excellent lobbyist on the losing end. What matters is that your lobbyist represents your needs and issues to policymakers as effectively and ethically as possible over the long run.
To identify lobbyists who work on specific issues, or to determine which lobbyists represent a particular organization, check the “Selected Subjects Index” or “Organizations Represented” sections of Washington Representatives published by Columbia Books in Washington, DC (202-464-1662).
Cansler Consulting is an experienced lobbying firm in budgeting, agriculture, rural healthcare, and energy policies and through our Congressional relationships we can help you influence the policy makers on Capitol Hill. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (202) 220-3150.
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- http://www.alldc.org/video.cfm [↩]