Wednesday, January 21, 2009

how to pick a lobbyist

If you're looking for a lobbyist, here's my suggestions on picking the right one. Just like a college basketball coach probably wouldn't offer a scholarship to a player he's never seen play, if you have the time, make it a point to visit the Statehouse and watch the lobbyist in action. Every lobbyist has positive relationships with certain legislators and other lobbyists, but over the course of your visit, you'll be able to see the scope of their relationships.

Assuming not everyone has the time to visit every state where they have a lobbyist, then consider asking the lobbyist for a few contacts for their current clients. Ask those current clients how well and how often the lobbyist communicates with them. Ask them if the lobbyist has ever had great success or failure on key issues. Ask them if the lobbyist speaks ill of others and who those others are...since a good lobbyist treats all with respect and professional courtesy. Ask those current clients how long they've worked with the lobbyist and if there are any suggestions on things to discuss before hiring the lobbyist.

Ask the lobbyist to provide you with the contact information for key legislators and regulators. Make it a point to check with other legislators and regulators than those provided by the lobbyist as well. Chances are, the lobbyist will provide you the contacts with whom they have good relationships. Say you're an insurance company and the lobbyist provides the contact for the ranking Democrat and a Republican on the committee. When you speak to those legislators, ask them if they could get you in touch with the committee chairperson and maybe another legislator on the committee they think is important. Do some digging on your own. Not every legislator likes every lobbyist (and vice versa), but a good lobbyist should be known to most legislators and be thought as a professional.

Not rocket science, I know, but the important thing is to spend some time and energy before selecting a lobbyist as it will save you work down the road of either repairing the damage done by a bad lobbyist, or by having to take time to look for a new lobbyist somewhere down the road.

No comments:

Post a Comment