Monday, January 12, 2009

Different types of lobbyists

There are different types of lobbyists. The biggest distinction is probably between those who are paid and those who are unpaid. Unpaid lobbyists are basically people who are interested in a particular bill or issue and who feel like they want to voice their opinion to the legislature. Paid lobbyists can be divided into two main categories as well: those who work for a specific association, company or cause and those who represent multiple clients. Association/Corporate lobbyists are those who focus almost exclusively on one issue or company. Multi-client lobbyists are lobbyists for hire. They are free-agents. Sometimes they are called hired-guns. Whatever you want to call them, these are the one's who usually draw the largest reaction from people, but since I am a hired-gun now, I wanted to make the case why we serve a valuable purpose.

Hired gun lobbyists are contracted due to their knowledge on an issue or their relationships. I don't view hired guns as bad for the legislative process. As indicated in an earlier posting, a lobbyist must retain credibility & integrity. A group can hire a lobbyist and the lobbyist could probably lie, cheat and steal their way to getting a bill passed, and while I've seen it happen, there are usually some pretty severe professional consequences for this approach and generally speaking, a lobbyist taking this route may find it "challenging" to advocate future causes (and that's putting it lightly).

Being a lobbyist doesn't mean you don't care about the issues you are being paid to advocate. It's all about choices. I could choose to lobby for groups and causes I don't care about, but I've just decided that I will lobby only for those groups and issues I can believe in. Call me crazy, but I think I will be most effective if I agree with the position I'm advocating. Some lobbyists can lobby for anything and be just fine for doing so, but I can't. It's just a personal preference. Hopefully a group that hires me will find ourselves up against a lobbyist who is just being paid to represent a cause they don't believe in!


  1. Very interesting. I like your blog...thanks for all the info!

  2. Corporate lobbist are supposed to have loyalty. Hired guns are supposed to be client oriented. Even so, I couldn't agree more: to sucessful sustain and promote an ideea, opinion, piece of legislation, anything you must also believe in it. I think is a sort of unwritten rule