Lobbying

Lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act of attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of officials in their daily life, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many types of people, associations and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups). Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituencies, meaning a voter or bloc of voters within their electoral district; they may engage in lobbying as a business. Professional lobbyists are people whose business is trying to influence legislation, regulation, or other government decisions, actions, or policies on behalf of a group or individual who hires them. Individuals and nonprofit organizations can also lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job. Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.

The ethics and morals involved with lobbying are complicated. Lobbying can, at times, be spoken of with contempt, when the implication is that people with inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law in order to serve their own interests. When people who have a duty to act on behalf of others, such as elected officials with a duty to serve their constituents' interests or more broadly the public good, can benefit by shaping the law to serve the interests of some private parties, a conflict of interest exists. Many critiques of lobbying point to the potential for conflicts of interest to lead to agent misdirection or the intentional failure of an agent with a duty to serve an employer, client, or constituent to perform those duties. The failure of government officials to serve the public interest as a consequence of lobbying by special interests who provide benefits to the official is an example of agent misdirection.[1]

Tabakslobby
Gift offered by tobacco industry lobbyists to Dutch politician Kartika Liotard in September 2013

Etymology

In a report carried by the BBC, an OED lexicographer has shown that "lobbying" finds its roots in the gathering of Members of Parliament and peers in the hallways ("lobbies") of the UK Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates where members of the public can meet their representatives.[2]

One story held that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was supposedly used by President Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political advocates who frequented the hotel's lobby to access Grant—who was often there in the evenings to enjoy a cigar and brandy—and would then try to buy the president drinks in an attempt to influence his political decisions.[3] Although the term may have gained more widespread currency in Washington, D.C. by virtue of this practice during the Grant Administration, the OED cites numerous documented uses of the word well before Grant's presidency, including use in Pennsylvania as early as 1808.[3]

The term "lobbying" also appeared in print as early as 1820:[4]

Other letters from Washington affirm, that members of the Senate, when the compromise question was to be taken in the House, were not only "lobbying about the Representatives' Chamber" but also active in endeavoring to intimidate certain weak representatives by insulting threats to dissolve the Union.

— April 1, 1820

Dictionary definitions:

  • 'Lobbying' (also 'lobby') is a form of advocacy with the intention of influencing decisions made by the government by individuals or more usually by lobby groups; it includes all attempts to influence legislators and officials, whether by other legislators, constituents, or organized groups.[5][6]
  • A 'lobbyist' is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby.[7]

Overview

Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying[8][9][10][11] as part of laws to prevent political corruption and by establishing transparency about possible influences by public lobby registers.

Lobby groups may concentrate their efforts on the legislatures, where laws are created, but may also use the judicial branch to advance their causes. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, for example, filed suits in state and federal courts in the 1950s to challenge segregation laws. Their efforts resulted in the Supreme Court declaring such laws unconstitutional.

Lobbyists may use a legal device known as amicus curiae (literally: "friend of the court") briefs to try to influence court cases. Briefs are written documents filed with a court, typically by parties to a lawsuit. Amici curiae briefs are briefs filed by people or groups who are not parties to a suit. These briefs are entered into the court records, and give additional background on the matter being decided upon. Advocacy groups use these briefs both to share their expertise and to promote their positions.

The lobbying industry is affected by the revolving door concept, a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and roles in the industries affected by legislation and regulation, as the main asset for a lobbyist is contacts with and influence on government officials. This climate is attractive for ex-government officials. It can also mean substantial monetary rewards for lobbying firms, and government projects and contracts worth in the hundreds of millions for those they represent.[12][13]

The international standards for the regulation of lobbying were introduced at four international organizations and supranational associations: 1) the European Union; 2) the Council of Europe; 3) the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; 4) the Commonwealth of Independent States[14].

History

In pre-modern political systems, royal courts provided incidental opportunities for gaining the ear of monarchs and their councillors. Nowadays, lobbying has taken a more drastic position as big corporations pressure politicians to help them gain more benefit. Lobbying has become a big part of the world economy as big companies corrupt laws and regulations.[15]

Impact

Kellogg School of Management found that political donations by corporations do not increase shareholder value.[16]

Lobbying by country

Australia

Over the past twenty years, lobbying in Australia has grown from a small industry of a few hundred employees to a multi-billion dollar per year industry. What was once the preserve of big multinational companies and at a more local level, property developers, for example Urban Taskforce Australia, has morphed into an industry that would employ more than 10,000 people and represent every facet of human endeavour.[17]

Public lobbyist registers

A register of federal lobbyists is kept by the Australian Government and is accessible to the public via its website.[18] Similar registers for State government lobbyists were introduced between 2007 and 2009 around Australia. Since April 2007 in Western Australia, only lobbyists listed on the state's register are allowed to contact a government representative for the purpose of lobbying.[19] Similar rules have applied in Tasmania since 1 September 2009[20] and in South Australia and Victoria since 1 December 2009.[21][22]

European Union

Topics european lobbying
Wikimania 2009, results of the discussion about possible contents of European lobbying

The first step towards specialized regulation of lobbying in the European Union was a Written Question tabled by Alman Metten, in 1989. In 1991, Marc Galle, Chairman of the Committee on the Rules of Procedure, the Verification of Credentials and Immunities, was appointed to submit proposals for a Code of conduct and a register of lobbyists. Today lobbying in the European Union is an integral and important part of decision-making in the EU. From year to year lobbying regulation in the EU is constantly improving and the number of lobbyists are increases[23]. According to Austrian Member of the European Parliament ("MEP") Hans-Peter Martin, the value of lobby invitations and offers each individual MEP receives can reach up to €10,000 per week.[24]

In 2003 there were around 15,000 lobbyists (consultants, lawyers, associations, corporations, NGOs etc.) in Brussels seeking to influence the EU’s legislation. Some 2,600 special interest groups had a permanent office in Brussels. Their distribution was roughly as follows: European trade federations (32%), consultants (20%), companies (13%), NGOs (11%), national associations (10%), regional representations (6%), international organizations (5%) and think tanks (1%), (Lehmann, 2003, pp iii).[25][26] In addition to this, lobby organisations sometimes hire former EU employees (a phenomenon known as the revolving door) who possess inside knowledge of the EU institutions and policy process [27] A report by Transparency International EU published in January 2017 analysed the career paths of former EU officials and found that 30% of Members of the European Parliament who left politics went to work for organisations on the EU lobby register after their mandate and approximately one third of Commissioners serving under Barroso took jobs in the private sector after their mandate, including for Uber, ArcelorMittal, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. These potential conflicts of interest could be avoided if a stronger ethics framework would be established at the EU level, including an independent ethics body and longer cooling-off periods for MEPs.[27]

In the wake of the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal in Washington D.C. and the massive impact this had on the lobbying scene in the United States, the rules for lobbying in the EU—which until now consist of only a non-binding code of conduct-—may also be tightened.[28]

Eventually on 31 January 2019 the European Parliament adopted binding rules on lobby transparency. Amending its Rules of Procedure, the Parliament stipulated that MEPs involved in drafting and negotiating legislation must publish online their meetings with lobbyists.[29] The amendment says that “rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs or committee chairs shall, for each report, publish online all scheduled meetings with interest representatives falling under the scope of the Transparency Register”-database of the EU. [30]

France

There is currently no regulation at all for lobbying activities in France. There is no regulated access to the French institutions and no register specific to France, but there is one for the European Union[31] where French lobbyists can register themselves.[32] For example, the internal rule of the National Assembly (art. 23 and 79) forbids members of Parliament to be linked with a particular interest. Also, there is no rule at all for consultation of interest groups by the Parliament and the Government. Nevertheless, a recent parliamentary initiative (motion for a resolution) has been launched by several MPs so as to establish a register for representatives of interest groups and lobbyists who intend to lobby the MPs.[33]

Italy

A 2016 study finds evidence of significant indirect lobbying of Berlusconi through business proxies.[34] The authors document a significant pro-Mediaset (the mass media company founded and controlled by Berlusconi) bias in the allocation of advertising spending during Berlusconi's political tenure, in particular for companies operating in more regulated sectors.[34]

United Kingdom

United States

K Street NW at 19th Street
K Street NW at 19th Street in Washington D.C., part of downtown Washington's maze of high-powered "K Street lobbyist" and law firm office buildings.

Lobbying in the United States describes paid activity in which special interests hire professional advocates to argue for specific legislation in decision-making bodies such as the United States Congress. Lobbying in the United States could be seen to originate from Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States, which states: Congress shall make no law…abridging the right of the people peaceably…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Some lobbyists are now using social media to reduce the cost of traditional campaigns, and to more precisely target public officials with political messages.[35]

A number of published studies showed lobbying expenditure is correlated with great financial returns. For example, a 2011 study of the 50 firms that spent the most on lobbying relative to their assets compared their financial performance against that of the S&P 500 in the stock market concluded that spending on lobbying was a "spectacular investment" yielding "blistering" returns comparable to a high-flying hedge fund, even despite the financial downturn of the past few years.[36] A 2011 meta-analysis of previous research findings found a positive correlation between corporate political activity and firm performance.[37] Finally, a 2009 study found that lobbying brought a substantial return on investment, as much as 22,000% in some cases.[38] Major American corporations spent $345 million lobbying for just three pro-immigration bills between 2006 and 2008.[39]

Foreign-funded lobbying efforts include those of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, and China lobbies. In 2010 alone, foreign governments spent approximately $460 million on lobbying members of Congress and government officials.[40]

Other countries

Other countries where lobbying is regulated in parliamentary bills include:

  • Canada: Canada maintains a Registry of Lobbyists.[41]
  • Israel (1994)[42]
  • India: In India, where there is no law regulating the process, lobbying had traditionally been a tool for industry bodies (like FICCI) and other pressure groups to engage with the government ahead of the national budget. One reason being that lobbying activities were repeatedly identified in the context of corruption cases. For example, in 2010, leaked audio transcripts of Nira Radia. Not only private companies but even the Indian government has been paying a fee every year since 2005 to a US firm to lobby for ex. to the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.[43] In India, there are no laws that defined the scope of lobbying, who could undertake it, or the extent of disclosure necessary. Companies are not mandated to disclose their activities and lobbyists are neither authorized nor encouraged to reveal the names of clients or public officials they have contacted. The distinction between Lobbying and bribery still remains unclear. In 2012, Walmart revealed it had spent $25 million since 2008 on lobbying to "enhance market access for investment in India." This disclosure came weeks after the Indian government made a controversial decision to permit FDI in the country's multi-brand retail sector.
  • Ukraine: In 2009, a special working group of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine developed a draft law "On Lobbying". However, this bill was not introduced into the Parliament of Ukraine[44].

See also

References

  1. ^ Arab Lobby in the United States Handbook, 2015 edition, published by the Global Investment Center, USA (ISBN 1-4387-0226-4)
  2. ^ "BBC Definition of lobbying". BBC News. 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  3. ^ a b NPR - A Lobbyist by Any Other Name? - NPR discussion of Ulysses Grant and origins of the term lobbyist.
  4. ^ Deanna Gelak (previous president of the American League of Lobbyists) mentioned this in her book Lobbying and Advocacy: Winning Strategies, Resources, Recommendations, Ethics and Ongoing Compliance for Lobbyists and Washington Advocates, TheCapitol.Net, 2008, LobbyingAndAdvocacy.com
  5. ^ "lobbying". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.Com.
  6. ^ "lobbying". BBC News. London. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  7. ^ "lobbyist". Random House Unabridged Dictionary. 2006.
  8. ^ Non-Profit Action description of "Lobbying Versus Advocacy: Legal Definitions" Archived 2010-04-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ U.S. Senate definition of Lobbying.
  10. ^ Andrew Bounds and Marine Formentinie in Brussels, EU Lobbyists Face Tougher Regulation, Financial Times, August 16, 2007.
  11. ^ A. Paul Pross. "Lobbying - The Canadian Encyclopedia". Encyclopediecanadienne.ca. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  12. ^ Timothy J. Burger, "The Lobbying Game: Why the Revolving Door Won't Close" Time (February 16, 2006). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  13. ^ "Revolving Door: Methodology" Archived 2007-12-25 at the Wayback Machine Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved May 12, 2011
  14. ^ Nesterovych, Volodyymyr (2016). "International standards for the regulation of lobbying (EU, CE, OECD, CIS)". Krytyka Prawa. tom 8, nr 2: 79–101.
  15. ^ For example: Nicholls, Andrew D. (1999). "Kings, Courtiers, and Councillors: The Making of British Policy". The Jacobean Union: A Reconsideration of British Civil Policies Under the Early Stuarts. Contributions to the study of world history, ISSN 0885-9159. 64. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 51. ISBN 9780313308352. Retrieved 22 November 2018. The royal court was home to the king and therefore was an important arena for policy issues and decisions. [...] we find isolated examples of lobbyists for particular interests. An example of such a figure was Sir John Hay, who spent frequent intervals at court during [the reigns of James VI/I and Charles I] when he acted as agent for the Scottish Royal Burghs.
  16. ^ "When Corporations Donate to Candidates, Are They Buying Influence?".
  17. ^ Fitzgerald, Julian (2006). Lobbying In Australia: You Can’t Expect Anything to Change If You Don’t Speak Up.
  18. ^ "Who is on the register?". Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet. Australian Government. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  19. ^ "About the Register". Public Sector Commission - Register of Lobbyists. Government of Western Australia. 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  20. ^ "Register of Lobbyists : Register of Lobbyists". lobbyists.dpac.tas.gov.au. Retrieved 2015-07-03.
  21. ^ "South Australian Lobbyist Code of Conduct and Public Register". Department of Premier & Cabinet. Government of South Australia. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  22. ^ "Questions and answers for Victorian Register of Lobbyists". Victorian Public Sector Commissioner - Register of Lobbyists. State Government of Victoria. 2014-06-20.
  23. ^ Nesterovych, Volodymyr (2015). "EU standards for the regulation of lobbying". Prawa Człowieka. nr 18: 98, 106.
  24. ^ "Taming Brussels lobby". New European. April 25, 2011.
  25. ^ Lehman, Wilhelm (2003). "Lobbying in the European Union: current rules and practices" (PDF). Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  26. ^ Petrillo, Pier Luigi (March 2013). "Form of government and lobbying UK and UE, a comparative perspective". Apertacontrada.it.
  27. ^ a b "Transparency International EU (2017) Access All Areas: when EU politicians become lobbyists".
  28. ^ Green Paper on European Transparency Initiative European Commission, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2009
  29. ^ EU Parliament to end secret lobby meetings
  30. ^ Text adopted by EU Parliament on lobbying transparency
  31. ^ "Pleins feux sur les lobbies dans l'UE (28 October 2009)". Ec.europa.eu. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  32. ^ Pseudo *. "Le lobbying passe aussi par le web (12 March 2012)". Dsmw.org. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  33. ^ French National Assembly : Motion for a Resolution on Lobbying (21 November 2006) Archived March 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ a b DellaVigna, Stefano; Durante, Ruben; Knight, Brian; Ferrara, Eliana La. "Market-Based Lobbying: Evidence from Advertising Spending in Italy †". American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. 8 (1): 224–256. doi:10.1257/app.20150042.
  35. ^ "Government Lobbyists Are More Nimble Than Ever".
  36. ^ Brad Plumer (October 10, 2011). "The outsized returns from lobbying". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-01-13. ...Hiring a top-flight lobbyist looks like a spectacular investment ...
  37. ^ Lux, Sean; Crook, T. Russell; Woehr, David J. (January 2011). "Mixing Business With Politics: A Meta-Analysis of the Antecedents and Outcomes of Corporate Political Activity". Journal of Management. Retrieved November 26, 2012. doi: 10.1177/0149206310392233 Journal of Management; vol. 37 no. 1 223-247
  38. ^ Raquel Meyer Alexander, Stephen W. Mazza, & Susan Scholz. (8 April 2009). "Measuring Rates of Return for Lobbying Expenditures: An Empirical Case Study of Tax Breaks for Multinational Corporations" Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  39. ^ "How did opening borders to mass immigration become a 'Left-wing' idea?". 11 February 2016.
  40. ^ "Lobbying by Foreign Countries Decreases". Roll Call. September 14, 2011.
  41. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. October 10, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  42. ^ "Lobbies in the Knesset". Knesset.gov.il. 1997-04-01. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  43. ^ "Indian government cuts down on US lobbying to lowest in 7 years". The Economic Times. July 30, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  44. ^ Nesterovych, Volodymyr (2010). "Legalization, accreditation, control and supervisory activity concerning lobbyists and lobbying organizations: prospects for Ukraine" (PDF). Power. Man. Law. International Scientific Journal. № 1: 96–105.

Bibliography

External links

United States

Europe

501(c)(3) organization

A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. It is one of the 29 types of 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the US.

501(c)(3) tax-exemptions apply to entities that are organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, for testing for public safety, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, for the prevention of cruelty to children, women, or animals. 501(c)(3) exemption applies also for any non-incorporated community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation organized and operated exclusively for those purposes. There are also supporting organizations—often referred to in shorthand form as "Friends of" organizations.26 U.S.C. § 170 provides a deduction for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations, among others. Regulations specify which such deductions must be verifiable to be allowed (e.g., receipts for donations of $250 or more).

Due to the tax deductions associated with donations, loss of 501(c)(3) status can be highly challenging if not fatal to a charity's continued operation, as many foundations and corporate matching funds do not grant funds to a charity without such status, and individual donors often do not donate to such a charity due to the unavailability of the deduction.

AARP

AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) is a United States-based interest group whose stated mission is "to empower people to choose how they live as they age." According to the organization, it had more than 38 million members as of 2018.

AARP was founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus (a retired educator from California) and Leonard Davis (later the founder of the Colonial Penn Group of insurance companies). It is an influential lobbying group in the United States focusing largely on seniors issues. AARP sells paid memberships, and markets insurance and other services to its members. Its "Fraud Watch" includes write-ups by former con man and FBI advisor Frank Abagnale.

Advocacy

Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or conducting exit poll or the filing of an amicus brief. Lobbying (often by lobby groups) is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics. Research has started to address how advocacy groups in the United States and Canada are using social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.

An advocate is someone who provides advocacy support to people who need it.

Advocacy group

Advocacy groups (also known as pressure groups, corporate interest groups, lobby groups, campaign groups, interest groups, or special interest groups) use various forms of advocacy in order to influence public opinion and/or policy. They have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems.

Motives for action may be based on a shared political, religious, moral, health or commercial position. Groups use varied methods to try to achieve their aims including lobbying, media campaigns, publicity stunts, polls, research, and policy briefings. Some groups are supported or backed by powerful business or political interests and exert considerable influence on the political process, while others have few or no such resources.

Some have developed into important social, political institutions or social movements. Some powerful advocacy groups have been accused of manipulating the democratic system for narrow commercial gain and in some instances have been found guilty of corruption, fraud, bribery, and other serious crimes; lobbying has become increasingly regulated as a result citation needed. Some groups, generally ones with less financial resources, may use direct action and civil disobedience and in some cases are accused of being a threat to the social order or 'domestic extremists'. Research is beginning to explore how advocacy groups use social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.

Amazon (company)

Amazon.com, Inc. (), is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington that focuses in e-commerce, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.

Amazon is the largest e-commerce marketplace and cloud computing platform in the world as measured by revenue and market capitalization. Amazon.com was founded by Jeff Bezos on July 5, 1994, and started as an online bookstore but later diversified to sell video downloads/streaming, MP3 downloads/streaming, audiobook downloads/streaming, software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. The company also owns a publishing arm, Amazon Publishing, a film and television studio, Amazon Studios, produces consumer electronics lines including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Echo devices, and is the world's largest provider of cloud infrastructure services (IaaS and PaaS) through its AWS subsidiary. Amazon has separate retail websites for some countries and also offers international shipping of some of its products to certain other countries. 100 million people subscribe to Amazon Prime.Amazon is the largest Internet company by revenue in the world and the second largest employer in the United States. In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States by market capitalization. In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market for $13.4 billion, which vastly increased Amazon's presence as a brick-and-mortar retailer. The acquisition was interpreted by some as a direct attempt to challenge Walmart's traditional retail stores.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC AY-pak) is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States. The current President of AIPAC is Lillian Pinkus.One of several pro-Israel lobbying organizations in the United States, AIPAC states that it has more than 100,000 members, seventeen regional offices, and "a vast pool of donors". Congressman Brad Sherman of California has called AIPAC "the single most important organization in promoting the U.S.-Israel alliance". In addition, the organization has been called one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States. The group does not raise funds for political candidates itself, but its members raise money for candidates through political action committees AIPAC helped establish and by other means.Its critics have stated it acts as an agent of the Israeli government with a "stranglehold" on the United States Congress with its power and influence. The group has been accused of being strongly allied with the Likud party of Israel, and the Republican Party in the US, but an AIPAC spokesman has called this a "malicious mischaracterization". The Washington Post described the perceived differences between AIPAC and J Street: "While both groups call themselves bipartisan, AIPAC has won support from an overwhelming majority of Republican Jews, while J Street is presenting itself as an alternative for Democrats who have grown uncomfortable with both Netanyahu's policies and the conservatives' flocking to AIPAC."AIPAC, on the other hand, describes itself as a bipartisan organization, and the bills it lobbies for in Congress are always jointly sponsored by both a Democrat and Republican. AIPAC's supporters claim its bipartisan nature can be seen at its yearly policy conference, which in 2016 included both major parties' nominees—Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump—as well as high-ranking Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden and 2020 hopeful Kamala Harris, and high-ranking Republicans, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

American Petroleum Institute

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is the largest U.S. trade association for the oil and natural gas industry. It claims to represent about 650 corporations involved in production, refinement, distribution, and many other aspects of the petroleum industry.

The association describes its mission as to influence public policy in support of a strong, viable U.S. oil and natural gas industry. API's chief functions on behalf of the industry include advocacy, negotiation and lobbying with governmental, legal, and regulatory agencies; research into economic, toxicological, and environmental effects; establishment and certification of industry standards; and education outreach. API both funds and conducts research related to many aspects of the petroleum industry. The current CEO and president is Mike Sommers.

Astroturfing

Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source's financial connection. The term astroturfing is derived from AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to resemble natural grass, as a play on the word "grassroots". The implication behind the use of the term is that instead of a "true" or "natural" grassroots effort behind the activity in question, there is a "fake" or "artificial" appearance of support.

Center for Responsive Politics

The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) is a non-profit, nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C., that tracks the effects of money and lobbying on elections and public policy. It maintains a public online database of its information.Its website, OpenSecrets.org, allows users to track federal campaign contributions and lobbying by lobbying firms, individual lobbyists, industry, federal agency, and bills. Other resources include the personal financial disclosures of all members of the U.S. Congress, the president, and top members of the administration. Users can also search by ZIP codes to learn how their neighbors are allocating their political contributions.

Fossil fuels lobby

"Fossil fuels lobby" is the umbrella term used to name the paid representatives of large fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal) and electric utilities corporations who attempt to influence governmental policy. So-called Big Oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Total S.A., Chevron Corporation, and ConocoPhillips are amongst the largest corporations associated with the fossil fuels lobby. General Electric, Southern Company, First Energy, and the Edison Electric Institute are also among the most influential electric utilities corporations. However, electric companies and big oil and gas companies are consistently not among the ten highest-spending lobbyists – the United States Chamber of Commerce is currently #1. By sector, "Energy/Nat Resource" comes fifth, behind "Misc Business", "Finance/Insur/RealEst", Health and "Communic/Electronics".

Jack Abramoff

Jack Allan Abramoff (; born February 28, 1959) is an American lobbyist, businessman, movie producer and writer. He was at the center of an extensive corruption investigation that led to his conviction and to 21 people either pleading guilty or being found guilty, including White House officials J. Steven Griles and David Safavian, U.S. Representative Bob Ney, and nine other lobbyists and congressional aides.

Abramoff was College Republican National Committee National Chairman from 1981 to 1985, a founding member of the International Freedom Foundation, allegedly financed by apartheid South Africa, and served on the board of directors of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. From 1994 to 2001 he was a top lobbyist for the firm of Preston Gates & Ellis, and then for Greenberg Traurig until March 2004.

After a guilty plea in the Jack Abramoff Native American lobbying scandal and his dealings with SunCruz Casinos in January 2006, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion. He served 43 months before being released on December 3, 2010. After his release from prison, he wrote the autobiographical book Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist which was published in November 2011.

Abramoff's lobbying and the surrounding scandals and investigation are the subject of two 2010 films: the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, released in May 2010, and the feature film Casino Jack, released on December 17, 2010, starring Kevin Spacey as Abramoff.

Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal

The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal was a United States political scandal exposed in 2005; it related to fraud perpetrated by political lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Grover Norquist and Michael Scanlon on Native American tribes who were seeking to develop casino gambling on their reservations. The lobbyists charged the tribes an estimated $85 million in fees. Abramoff and Scanlon grossly overbilled their clients, secretly splitting the multi-million dollar profits. In one case, they secretly orchestrated lobbying against their own clients in order to force them to pay for lobbying services.

In the course of the scheme, the lobbyists were accused of illegally giving gifts and making campaign donations to legislators in return for votes or support of legislation. Representative Bob Ney (R-OH) and two aides to Tom DeLay (R-TX) have been directly implicated; other politicians have various ties.

K Street (Washington, D.C.)

K Street is a major thoroughfare in the United States capital of Washington, D.C. known as a center for numerous lobbyists and advocacy groups. In political discourse, "K Street" has become a metonym for Washington's lobbying industry since many lobbying firms were traditionally located on the section in Northwest Washington which passes from Georgetown through a portion of downtown D.C. Since the late 1980s, however, many of the largest lobbying firms have moved out; as of 2012, only one of the top-20 lobbying firms has a K Street address.

Lobbying in the United States

Lobbying in the United States describes paid activity in which special interests hire well-connected professional advocates, often lawyers, to argue for specific legislation in decision-making bodies such as the United States Congress. It is a highly controversial phenomenon, often seen in a negative light by journalists and the American public, with some critics describing it as a legal form of bribery or extortion. While lobbying is subject to extensive and often complex rules which, if not followed, can lead to penalties including jail, the activity of lobbying has been interpreted by court rulings as constitutionally protected free speech and a way to petition the government for the redress of grievances, two of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Since the 1970s, lobbying activity has grown immensely in the United States in terms of the numbers of lobbyists and the size of lobbying budgets, and has become the focus of much criticism of American governance.

Since lobby rules require extensive disclosure, there is a large amount of information in the public sphere about which entities lobby, how, at whom, and for how much. The current pattern suggests much lobbying is done primarily by corporations, although a wide variety of coalitions representing diverse groups also occurs. Lobbying takes place at every level of government, including federal, state, county, municipal, and even local governments. In Washington, D.C., lobbying usually targets members of Congress, although there have been efforts to influence executive agency officials as well as Supreme Court appointments. Lobbying can have an important influence on the political system; for example, a study in 2014 suggested that special interest lobbying enhanced the power of elite groups and was a factor shifting the nation's political structure toward an oligarchy in which average citizens have "little or no independent influence".The number of lobbyists in Washington is estimated to be over twelve thousand, but most lobbying (in terms of expenditures), is handled by fewer than 300 firms with low turnover. A report in The Nation in 2014 suggested that while the number of 12,281 registered lobbyists was a decrease since 2002, lobbying activity was increasing and "going underground" as lobbyists use "increasingly sophisticated strategies" to obscure their activity. Analyst James A. Thurber estimated that the actual number of working lobbyists was close to 100,000 and that the industry brings in $9 billion annually.Lobbying has been the subject of academic inquiry in various fields, including law, public policy, economics and even marketing strategy.

Motorcycling

Motorcycling is riding a motorcycle. For some people, motorcycling may be the only affordable form of individual motorized transportation, and small-displacement motorcycles are the most common motor vehicle in the most populous countries, including India, China and Indonesia.In developing countries, motorcycles are overwhelmingly utilitarian due to lower prices and greater fuel economy. Of all motorcycles, 58% are in the Asia Pacific and Southern and Eastern Asia regions, excluding car-centric Japan.

Motorcycles are mainly a luxury good in developed nations, where they are used mostly for recreation, as a lifestyle accessory or a symbol of personal identity. Beyond being a mode of motor transportation or sport, motorcycling has become a subculture and lifestyle. Although mainly a solo activity, motorcycling can be social and motorcyclists tend to have a sense of community with each other.

Politics of Israel

Politics in Israel is dominated by Zionist parties. They traditionally fall into three camps, the first two being the largest: Labor Zionism (social democrat), Revisionist Zionism (conservative) and Religious Zionism. There are also several non-Zionist Orthodox religious parties, non-Zionist left-wing groups as well as non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Israeli Arab parties.

Republican Jewish Coalition

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), formerly the National Jewish Coalition, founded in 1985, is a 501(c)(4) political lobbying group in the United States that promotes Jewish Republicans. The RJC is one of the most important voices on conservative political issues for the Jewish-American community. The organization has more than 47 chapters throughout the United States.

Social services

Social services are a range of public services provided by the government, private, profit and non-profit organizations. These public services aim to create more effective organizations, build stronger communities, and promote equality and opportunity.

Social services include the benefits and facilities such as education, food subsidies, health care, police, fire service, job training and subsidized housing, adoption, community management, policy research, and lobbying.

United States Chamber of Commerce

The United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC) is a business-oriented American lobbying group.

Politically, the Chamber usually supports Republican political candidates, though it has occasionally supported conservative Democrats. The Chamber is the largest lobbying group in the U.S., spending more money than any other lobbying organization on a yearly basis.

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