We’ve all heard of lobbying. Perhaps we’ve even heard of a lobbyist firm being hired to push a cause through Congress. But just what is lobbying and how does it affect your life?
Let’s take a brief look at lobbying and how it touches the lives of every American, 24/7.
Defining the Practice
Simply put, lobbying is the practice of pressuring members of government who make the biggest decisions to pass certain bills. Lobbyists are usually paid professionals hired by organizations who want to make sure that their issue is passed into law, or fails to make it that far. Lobbyist firms are available throughout Washington, DC, and the rest of the country, and patrons come from far and wide to hire them to get their issue addressed in bodies like Congress. Unfortunately, lobbyist firms are often seen in a bad light by the media, and are often misunderstood on the individual level.
What Lobbyist Firms Do
Lobbyist firms are hired by organizations to enter the government and work the system. Mostly this is because lay organizations lack the skills and time to invest in attending congressional meetings and talking with representatives. Lobbyists can do this for them.
When a lobbyist is hired, he or she does not just march into an important meeting and interrupt the proceedings with their demands. Rather, the process is quite professional, and a lobbyist has to do a lot of hard work. Namely, lobbyists understand the political process, meaning they have spent time studying and acquiring experience in this arena. They also have a network of relationships with high-ranking politicians, showing how they are skilled at interpersonal relations. They also must know how to build an effective strategy for accomplishing their clients’ goals, which takes deep thought and steady dedication.
While some people question the legitimacy of lobbying practices, the way it works is actually quite upright. In fact, lobbying has been ruled an act of free speech, protecting it from arguments against its constitutionality. Lobbying does not just happen in Congress, either. It happens at every level of government, from municipal to federal. In the end, lobbying often yields good results for the organizations and corporations who make use of it.
What issue is important to you?
But how does all of this help you? You are just an individual, not a high-flying corporation with big bucks to pour out on your cause. Well, think about it. Corporations and organizations feel strongly about issues just like you do. It is likely that an issue you feel passionate about is being pushed by lobbyists right now. All you have to do is check the news. Whether you’re for lobbying or against it, you can look it up online and watch its progress. Lobbying is happening whether you’re aware of it or not, so if you don’t want to worry about an issue that might pass in Congress one day, find a lobbyist who is on your side and see what they can do.