How Lobbying Works

Author's Note

It must be a drag to be a lobbyist. What do you say at dinner parties when folks ask what you do for a living? Do you go the "consultant" route? What about "political advocacy?" Or do you just come out and use the "L" word to see how they react? From researching this article, it's clear that most lobbyists are hardworking, ethical people who believe in their work. It's also clear that the nature of the work leaves ample room for the type of wildly unethical behavior that gives lobbyists a reputation that only used car salesmen could envy. In this presidential election season, we see both parties pointing fingers at the "special interest lobbies" that are ruining our country. It's funny how quickly an interest becomes "special" when it's not your interest. The question is, who has the political will to fix a broken system?

Related Articles


  • Briggs, Emily Edson. The Olivia Letters. "The Dragons of the Lobby." The Neale Publishing Company. 1906 (June 10, 2012)
  • Byrd, Robert C. United States Senate. "Lobbyists." September 28, 1987 (June 10, 2012)
  • Center for Responsive Politics. "Lobbying Database" (June 10, 2012)
  • Cook, David T. The Christian Science Monitor. "How Washington lobbyists peddle power." September 28, 2009 (June 10, 2012)
  • Fried, Charles. The American Bar Association. "Lobbying Law in the Spotlight: Challenges and Proposed Improvements." January 3, 2011 (June 11, 2012)
  • Grier, Peter. The Christian Science Monitor. "So much money, so few lobbyists in D.C. How does that math work?" February 24, 2012 (June 12, 2012)
  • Hansen, Liane. NPR Weekend Edition. "A Lobbyist By Any Other Name?" January 22, 2006 (June 11, 2012)
  • Jacob, Kathryn Allamong. Smithsonian. "King of the Lobby." May 2001 (June 12, 2012)
  • McIntire, Mike and Rutenberg, Jim. The New York Times. "Gingrich Gave Push to Clients, Not Just Ideas." November 29, 2011 (June 10, 2012)
  • Meyers & Associates. "Lobbyists & Lobbying" (June 10, 2012)
  • The New York Times. "So Who's a Lobbyist?" January 26, 2012 (June 10, 2012)
  • Office of the Clerk. U.S. House of Representatives. "Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance." December 15, 2011 (June 10, 2012)
  • The Princeton Review. "Career: Lobbyist" (June 10, 2012.)
  • Schlesinger, Robert. U.S. News and World Report. "Is Newt Gingrich a Lobbyist?" November 30, 2011 (June 12, 2012)
  • Shannon. "DC Mythbusting: 'Lobbyist' Coined at Willard Hotel." June 9, 2009 (June 10, 2012)
  • Stahl, Leslie. 60 Minutes. "Jack Abramoff: The lobbyist's playbook." November 6, 2011 (June 12, 2012);contentBody
  • Surowiecki, James. PBS American Experience. "Durant's Big Scam." January 2003 (June 12, 2012)
  • White, Richard. NPR Morning Edition. "How Trains 'Railroaded' the American Economy." July 11, 2011 (June 11, 2012)