Lobby / Lobbying
A group seeking to influence the passage or defeat of legislation. Originally the term referred to persons frequenting the lobbies or corridors of legislative chambers to speak to lawmakers.
The definition of a lobby and the activity of lobbying is a matter of differing interpretation. By some definitions, lobbying is limited to direct attempts to influence lawmakers through personal interviews and persuasion. Under other definitions, lobbying attempts at indirect, or “grass-roots”, influence, such as persuading members of a group to write or visit their districts’ representative and states’ senators or attempting to create a climate of opinion favorable to a desired legislative goal.
The right to attempt to influence legislation is based on the First Amendment to the Constitution, which says Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people to “petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Interest groups and lobbying
The usage of the term “lobbying” to pertain to persuading public officials can be traced back to 1820, two years before Ulysses S. Grant was even born (April 27, 1822). The evolution of the term “lobbying” by members of Congress themselves is implied as early as 1808 on the House floor (see §§ 1.6 and 1.8). Also, there is evidence of the terms “lobbying” or “lobbyists” being used to pertain to persuading public officials before Grant became president in 1869. Therefore, the term could not have been first coined in the Willard Hotel lobby.
§ 1.5 A Brief History: The Origin and Development of the Term “Lobbyist”, in Lobbying and Advocacy.
Also see K Street; Lobbying and Advocacy; § Chapter 3. Pressures on Congress: Lobbying and Congressional Ethics, in Congressional Deskbook.
- How To Contact Congress
- Crony Capitalism / Rent-Seeking / Corporate Welfare / Revolving Door (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- Congressional Ethics (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- “Lobbying Regulations on Non-Profit Organizations,” CRS Report 96-809 (19-page PDF)
- “Lobbying Reform: Background and Legislative Proposals, 109th Congress,” CRS Report RL33065 (47-page PDF)
- “Lobbying Disclosure and Ethics Proposals Related to Lobbying Introduced in the 109th Congress: A Comparative Analysis,” CRS Report RL33234 (35-page PDF)
- “Lobbying Congress: An Overview of Legal Provisions and Congressional Ethics Rules,” CRS Report RL31126 (44-page PDF)
- “Interest Groups and Lobbyists: Sources of Information,” CRS Report RS20725 (8-page PDF)
- “Post Employment, ‘Revolving Door,’ Restrictions for Legislative Branch Members and Employees,” CRS Report 95-52 (6-page PDF)
- “Post-Employment, ‘Revolving Door,’ Laws for Federal Personnel,” CRS Report 97-875 (19-page PDF)
- “Lobbying Registration and Disclosure: The Role of the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate,” CRS Report RL34377 (16-page PDF)
- “Lobbying Congress with Appropriated Funds: Restrictions on Federal Agencies and Officials,” CRS Report R44154 (15-page PDF)
- “Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change,” CRS Report R40947 (22-page PDF)
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Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates
CongressionalGlossary.com, from TheCapitol.Net
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