Democracy is type of government formed by the people, of the people and for the people.

The Lobbyist tries to influence the government, for the policies which are in favour of the interest group. Sometimes, it may happen that the policies favoured by the lobbyist are against the desire of the majority. But, the politicians would still implement them, due to their self-interests.

How can such a government claim to be working "for the people"? And considered democratic?


14 Answers 14


Let's take a moment to visit how the word "lobbying" came about. In the British Houses of Parliament, there is an area called Central Lobby (between the Commons and the Lords), which is where members of the public could meet their representatives to discuss an issue and persuade them to support it. The term "to lobby" came from the location in Parliament where this was done.

To bring this back to your question, everyone who has asked a representative to bring attention to an issue, whether it be an individual member of the public or a large international corporation, has done a form of lobbying. If lobbying were to be banned, it would effectively cut off two-way communication between a representative and his/her constituents.

CLARIFICATION: For the purpose of this answer, a representative refers to a person elected to a legislative body.


That would require a workable definition of "lobbying," and it would almost certainly exclude things you do not want to exclude.

  • A citizen phones his representative to tell him his opinion about a proposed law. Not lobbying, I presume.
  • A citizen tells his friends to phone their representatives to tell them their opinion about a proposed law. Probably not lobbying, either.
  • A citizen takes a can of paint and a canvas and puts a sign on his front porch, "phone your representative and tell him you dislike the proposed law." Also not lobbying?
  • A citizen produces a dozen signs against the proposed new law, for himself and all the neighbours, and sells them for a $ a piece to cover his expenses. Clearly lobbying work, right?
  • A citizen drives to the capital to join the protest against a proposed law. Clearly no lobbying, either.
  • A citizen drives to the capital to hand the legislators a petition against the new law, with a thousand signatures collected in his home town. That's getting pretty close to lobbying as it is generally understood.
  • A citizen collects a thousand signatures against the proposed law, and there is a collection tin to cover his travel expenses. That's clearly lobbying, right?

One interesting distinction is if the lobbyist is getting paid to do the lobbying, but the lines between all expenses covered and on a salary can be pretty thin.

Another interesting distinction is if the lobbyist is working full time as a lobbyist or if there is a real job on top of that.

But be careful that you don't make lobbying illegal for poor people that way ...

  • 27
    I think what is missed in this answer is the unfathomably enormous amount of money donated to political campaigns and action committees by lobbying groups. The issue is money, not petitions. And it is a recent US development that money = speech
    – crasic
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 23:09
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    @crasic The question never mentions money. Another question would need to be asked if you want to discuss the issue of interest groups fundraising for particular politicians. Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 23:58
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    This is a (lengthy) comment, it does not answer the question.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 7:11
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    @gerrit, in a nutshell, Q: Why not ban lobbying? A: it would almost certainly exclude things you do not want to exclude. The very first sentence. The rest is explanation.
    – o.m.
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 10:19
  • 3
    @crasic Donations are not lobbying. Of course, there's nothing stopping the same organization from lobbying a politician/party and also donating to their campaign if they see good results from the lobbying.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 18:09

One of the problems inherent in a representative democracy is that the representative must have some means of knowing what the people s'he represents want and need. People have to be able to communicate with h'er. There are actually many avenues of communication available: from the act of voting itself, to letters, emails, and other correspondence, to protests and public activism. But by far the most effective means of making the needs and interests of a citizen known to a representative is face-to-face communication. All citizens ought to have the chance to sit down with their representatives — unfeasible as that may be — and express their wants.

Lobbying is the act of getting a face-to-face meeting with a representative. That's all the term means, and it is (ideally) a vital part of representative democracy.

In the US, the act of lobbying — of getting a face-to-face with a representative — has been corrupted by economic and social pressures. The lobbying system is monopolized by deep-pocket interests and high-salience groups. Major industries and corporations have dedicated lobbying groups that have the expertise and funding needed to work the system so they are assured face-to-face time. Representatives make time for groups that represent significant voting blocks, something which religious groups, unions, and certain political organizations make good use of. The rest of us haven't much of a prayer of ever sitting down with a representative, because a representative's time is limited, and is allocated to those who best satisfy the representative's political interests.

That being said, eliminating lobbying entirely would be unadvisable, since it would cut off the best avenue for communicating with representatives. What we need is some system for ensuring that a portion of every representative's face-to-face time is reserved for communicating with members of h'er constituency, so that s'he is always in contact with the immediate interests of the people on the ground in the represented community. The system needs to be rethought, not removed.

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    This is also true in the EU, where soft bribery ("fishing industry invites MEPs to an information meeting, free food provided") is so common MEPs and their staff can live entirely on free food provided by "information meetings" (and if a vegan group invites the same MEPs for "information" and free food, I bet you different MEPs turn up).
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 7:13
  • And about time for representatives: you may not meet a member of congress or MEP, but you can almost certainly meet your local town council representative to complain about the noise (screaming children) that the proposed new playground will spread.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 7:18
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    Best answer so far ! It's worth mentioning that representatives are not experts on all the subjects on which they legislate. Lobbying groups can act as group of experts to advise parliamentarians on very specific issues.
    – Menkid
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 10:51
  • In the UK, MPs (most, anyway) hold regular "surgeries" in different parts of their constituency where the public can meet the MP to lobby for something. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 14:59
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    @gidds: I think this may be a mere matter of semantics, but if I had to draw a distinction I'd say it was mostly a matter of scope and autonomy. A delegate is sent to handle a specific issue, with limits on how much she can adjust the specific interests of the people who sent her; a representative is meant to handle numerous issues for the people who sent her, and has a lot of leeway for negotiation and decision making. But both need to know what the people who sent them want, or they cannot effectively act as a representative or a delegate. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 17:58

Tesla wants to build cars like their cybertruck without side-view mirrors and instead give people camera's because side-view mirrors make a cars drag coefficient worse. That means that the car needs more energy to drive and has a reduced range for the same battery.

Unfortunately, there's currently a law that all cars need to have side-view mirrors. In a democracy that has lobbyists Tesla can hire a lobbyist who gathers research about how camera's can do the job that side-view mirrors do and then go to law-makers to talk them to change the law, so that Tesla is allowed to sell the cybertruck they showed the public.

Without that lobbyist, the law-makers likely don't know that ammending that law that requires cars to have side-view mirrors would be a good step to fight climate change even when their voters want them to take actions against climate change.

A single law like the Affordable Care Act had 906 pages with regulation that affect various stakeholders in many different ways. Obama might have lied when he said "you can keep your plan" but it's also possible that he simply didn't understand the full consequences of those 906 pages.

Lobbyists are often experts employed by the various stakeholders that are effected by a law. It's very useful to have them tell the law-makers about various adverse effect of the law that the law-maker is unaware of.

Ideally, you have enough NGO's who can speak for interests besides those of the companies that all relevant consequences are considered. You don't get there by listening to no-one.

  • 16
    The implied statement here is worth saying explicitly. Lobbyists are generally quite knowledgeable about the subject they're lobbying about, but lawmakers don't generally have deep knowledge about any of the subjects they deal with. The value of lobbyists is that they can take complex details of a topic and translate it into legal-speak that policy makers can understand.
    – bta
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 0:08
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    @bta The value of good lobbyists is that they explain things in ways policymakers can understand. The drawback of bad lobbyists is that they exploit policymakers' lack of understanding to push whatever they've been paid to push. (And the problem with bad policymakers is they don't care either way so long as the donation is large enough).
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 1:03
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    The glass fiber insulation industry wants to obliterate the tree cellulose insulation industry, so it fabricates a science report saying that cellulose in homes is very flammable (which it isn't using old mineral additives because the air moves less than with glass fiber) ... They lobby the government and cellulose insulation is made illegal for the next 4 decades... That's also the way lobbying works, not just tesla car mirrors. Oil, Deforestation, they all need lobbyists. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 7:07
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    @com.prehensible : That's why the tree cellulose insulation industry likely has their own lobbyists to counter such arguments if someone proposes such a law. In all heavily regulated industries lobbyists are important.
    – Christian
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 9:49
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    @Christian That was an example of a larger industry predating and illegalizing a small industry. If the small companies go bankrupt before they can counter-lobby, a better industry can be stifled for decades. That's kindof what all big industries attempt to do if they can, maintain dominance through corruption, price fixing deals with major OEM's, avoiding national laws through multi-nationalism. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 11:21

Rather than cutting off lobbying, something rather difficult to do, or just plain undesirable, in principle as other answers have already pointed out, one could mitigate its issues by forbidding political funding by lobbyists. That would not shut off communication between a politician and their constituents, but it would remove a lever lobbyists have to influence politicians beyond just communication.


  • Campaign financing is extremely protected, out of self-interest, by the political class in almost all countries. Occasionally, noises are made by a party to prohibit contributions by corporations or unions and, if that party wins, they quickly return to sanity and forget about it.

  • Voters are easily convinced not to fund political campaigns out of the public purse (which in any case has issues when it comes to deciding whom to fund, esp. for upstart parties).

  • The lobbyist industry itself, whose very reason for existence is being good at manipulating the political process, has very strong reasons to fight campaign contribution reform.

In the US, campaign contributions limits have also repeatedly been struck down on First Amendment grounds.

  • 4
    My very limited understanding of French elections is that they control any political advertising at the government level, including covering expenses of distribution, and prohibiting other advertisements. This has other issues (prior popularity/power is impactful) but in theory limits spending itself to the cost of a good writer, photographer and graphic designer for some universal pamphlets.
    – Cireo
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 23:59
  • @Cireo: that's correct. There is also a maximum amount of money which can be spent by a candidate and the is closely reviewed afterwards. One of the most famous cases is with our ex president Nicolas Sarkozy ("Affaire Bygmalion") which seems to be around 20M€ extra cists (and international financial aid, which is forbidden as well)
    – WoJ
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 12:24
  • Things have changed. When I lived there, Chirac was under investigation for his fake invoices during his stint as Paris's mayor. Those were used to pad campaign spending. On another note, BC, Canada, where I live, has indeed prohibited union and corporate donations. The 2 main parties, Libs + NDP, lost 85% of their donations, the Greens 66%. Letting aside the Greens, it seems like a lot less $$$ corrupting things but essentially both top parties have the same ammo to compete. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 16:26
  • This is recent so we'll see how it plays next election. Hopefully, the change will be transparent - less money wasted and purchase of undue influence, at no major detriment to political processes. I am not really bitter about politicians (mostly), but really, too much money on elections is an invitation to govern for special interests, not for the good of all. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 16:31

People gather in groups to advise lawmakers about what they need. Aside from being basic freedom of speech, it's also a logistical necessity of governance. Lawmakers are not omniscient: to make good laws, they need to gather information about everything the laws they make will effect. Banning lobbying completely would deprive lawmakers of that tool.

If some lobbying is to be made illegal, then the question becomes, what groups do you forbid, and who do you trust to maintain that list of forbidden groups in a just manner? Any lawmakers charged with constructing a list will inevitably make sure to ban groups it disfavors while allowing groups it favors, to preserve its own hold on power. That's hardly democratic. In the end, the only way to make sure that none of the "good" groups are shut out is to not shut anyone out.


It's unfeasible to ban industry lobbyists because human communications and secret meetings are currently uncontrollable, like tax evasion, black-market work, tax havens... they are powerful forces of society.

You can only encourage corporate lobbying to become accountable and let them lobby publicly, which is what the EU constitution and others have attempted.

Corporate and foreign relations lobbyists are popular with politicians, they pay restaurants, travel and presents, so there is strong political resistance to plebiscite-only politics.

Various countries have tried to add regulation to prevent companies from giving politicians nice gifts worth thousands, clothes, jewelry, free flights and vacations, but it just goes underground, and finds new ways through... it's like trying to legalize and decriminalize cannabis, to ban tax evasion and untaxed work... Difference is that lobbying causes poverty, exploitation, habitat destruction, whatever corporations need to get richer.

You would have to police politicians quite strictly, to know who they are communicating with, who pays the restaurant bills, audit their purchases and bank transactions, to ensure that corrupt lobby gifts don't influence the law. You'd have to introduce fake policing agents who root out secret influencers, and catch them giving expensive presents, like plane tickets and luxury tours of Isreal and SA, caviar dinners, 200 dollar wine-bottles.

Take for example the EU, it has 2 billion euros spent on lobbying every year, 2/3 offices and buildings around the EU parliament are occupied by influence companies and lobbyists, and the EU made specific rules to ensure that all that money and activity is declared. The lobbying professionals know the law and they are as good at avoiding at as tax-evasion-finance-specialists are good at hiding wealth.

Whatever solution exists to lobbying, it is radical and requires new technologies of plebiscite policy making or establishment strong arming, just like preventing tax evasion requires a new forms of money.

  • 1
    What do you mean by establisment strong arming?
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 12:13
  • 1
    Government groups with strong majorities or other strategies for changing entrenched status quo. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 12:37

Any attempt at regulating lobbying is going to face intense lobbying of pretty much all lobbying groups out there.

Even with a strong political will, convincing enough people that lobbying is critical and must remain un-hindered is exactly a job for a good lobbyist.


In the United States, at least, a ban on "lobbying" would almost certainly be considered unconstitutional.

The language of the First Amendment to the US Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

How does that apply to lobbying the government?

First, everyone has the right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". "Lobbying" is a form of "petition[ing] the Government".

But organized lobbying goes beyond that. That's a group of some kind doing the "petitioning".

"People" have the "right" to "peaceably to assemble" - that's the right to organize. Whether that organization is a corporation, a labor union, or a bunch of protestors on the street, everyone has the right to assemble into groups as they see fit.

Per Wikipedia:

When the Constitution was crafted by Framers such as James Madison, their intent was to design a governmental system in which powerful interest groups would be rendered incapable of subduing the general will. According to Madison, a faction was "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." Madison considered factions as dangerous, since they threatened to bring about tyranny if their control became too great. Madison, writing in the Federalist Papers, suggested that factions could be thwarted by requiring them to compete with other factions, and therefore the powerful force of one faction could be counteracted by another faction or factions. Today, the term "special interest" has often been equated with Madison's sense of "faction". In addition, the Constitution sought to protect other freedoms, such as free speech.

Accordingly, the ability of individuals, groups, and corporations to lobby the government is protected by the right to petition in the First Amendment. It is protected by the Constitution as free speech; one accounting was that there were three Constitutional provisions which protect the freedom of interest groups to "present their causes to government", and various decisions by the Supreme Court have upheld these freedoms over the course of two centuries. Even corporations have been considered in some court decisions to have many of the same rights as citizens, including their right to lobby officials for what they want. As a result, the legality of lobbying took "strong and early root" in the new republic.


What is an interest group? An interest group is a bunch of people that have common ground. In other words, interest groups are "the people" that government is supposed to represent.

Take the NRA, for example. What is it? It's an organization that exists to promote the interests of its members. Its members have said loud and clear that they oppose any limits on weapon ownership. In fact the NRA used to be pro-gun control and didn't oppose the ban on fully automatic weapons; their membership revolted at an annual meeting one year, fired all the leadership, and installed new leadership.

Most of America considers the near-absolutist positions the NRA takes to be extreme. A sizable majority of the country wants stronger gun control. Does this mean the NRA is doing something wrong and its (very successful) attempts to monopolize the public debate on the issue ought to be stopped?

Absolutely not.

The NRA is a stand-in for the NRA's membership. The lobbyists they hire represent the NRA, which in turn IS the public. When they attempt to convince politicans to do what they want, it is because that is what the membership of the NRA has told the NRA they want.

A sizable minority of folks in the US feels very strongly about gun regulation. The NRA takes the positions that it does because it reflects their will.

Even corporate lobbyists still ultimately represent large groups of the public: the cable industry lobby represents cable companies. Those companies employ a small army of people. Coal industry lobbyists are the same way. How are these groups supposed to make their wishes known?

Many lobby groups end up with disproportionate influence because they are laser focused on specific issues that matter to them, where their opposition is diffused and not united. The NRA in particular is so successful because they focus on a single issue dear to basically every member.

Banning lobbyists is dangerously close to tyranny of the majority.

  • 3
    " A sizable majority of the country wants stronger gun control." That is wrong. From your own link, in 2020, when asked "Would you like to see gun laws in this country made more strict, less strict or remain as they are?", 42% of those polled are "Dissatisfied, want stricter", 42% are "Satisfied" with current laws, and 9% are "Dissatisfied, want less strict" when asked. Your statement "A sizable majority of the country wants stronger gun control" is refuted by your own selected data.
    – Just Me
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 16:09
  • The second chart puts the number at ranging between 55 and 67% saying "more strict". I admit I didn't read the whole thing, but that number reflects what I heard the last time I looked into it. Where exactly does it say that number was 42%?
    – Ton Day
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 19:48
  • @just me - the first chart details the amount of satisfaction with current laws. The next chart specifically states that of those 55% dissatisfied (both somewhat and very), how many want more or less strict. The data does support the answer.
    – Kendall
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 21:18
  • @TonDay The second chart listed is strictly about the sale of guns: "In general, do you feel the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?"
    – Just Me
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 21:33
  • @Kendall If the chart is read that way, there are 55% of all polled who are dissatisfied with US gun policies, and 42% of that 55% want stricter policies. That's all of 23%. Hardly a "sizeable majority". NB that 70% of those polled disagree with "Do you think there should or should not be a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons?" That seems directly in opposition to any claim that the linked poll supports a claim of a "sizable majority wants stronger gun control". That's a specific example with a huge majority against it.
    – Just Me
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 21:42

Many interesting answers here, certainly, explaining why lobbying is necessary, even though it has certain negative effects vis-à-vis monetary influence on lawmakers.

An interesting solution is Andrew Yang's proposal regarding lobbying, i.e. his "democracy dollars" proposal.


Yang supports the implementation of what he calls "democracy dollars", where voting age citizens receive a $100 "use it or lose it" democracy voucher each year to give to candidates. The policy aims to drown out corporate money resulting from political lobbying and the decision of Citizens United v. FEC. According to Yang, democracy dollars would drown out corporate money from organizations, such as the NRA, by a factor of eight to one.

You might also want to look at Citizens United v. FEC which provides some reasons why lobbying is a part of free speech and other reasons why it might be necessary.


  • That's a 15 billion check you've just signed!
    – James K
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 21:05
  • @JamesK It's literally gonna come back to the government, and people who don't spend it, don't keep it
    Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 3:08

If we take "democracy" as in "always reflecting the will of the majority" and "lobbying" it as "pouring tremendous amounts of money unattainable for citizens" then the answer is: you're right, it's not.

Pure democracy is rather impossible (and undesirable, as in ochlocracy) at the scale of a modern country. Countries that claim to be "democratic" are more of a fluid mix of oligarchy and democracy rather than a theoretical, perfect democracy. Lobbying is one of the ways those seemingly incompatible models work out their differences.


Im not sure what youre speaking of exactly. It seems to me that the biggest concern here is corruption and bribery, both of which are already illegal, and a lack of transparency, a real ongoing issue... not lobbying in and of itself.

How do you distinguish a lobbyist from a citizen voicing their own concerns to elected leaders or before congress? How do you distinguish a lobby from an organization formed by the people, for the people, to voice their own unanimous concerns in their own way to those same representatives? If you give government that power to decide whether or not your voice counts as lobbying or otherwise, and therefore treated as illegal or otherwise, then you empower them to censor you and shut down your voice entirely. That is a power that can be politicized. The more powerful a group of organized citizens becomes, which is just a function of how much support they have, the more they could conceivably be qualified as a lobby and ignored. The less powerful the group is, the more ineffectual they are.

If your concern about lobbying is instead empowering corporations at the expense of the People, supplanting the wants of the people with the wants of companies... then I would in principle agree with you. However, its also important to note that companies themselves ARE an embodiment of people... whether those people are investors, stock holders, employees or owners. Organizations dont have rights on their own (or they shouldnt), but those organizations are still comprised of individual citizen voters. So to denounce the rights of corporate organizations is to denounce the voices of the people they comprise.

Should companies have greater rights than people? No, of course not. But to pretend like companies arent made up of people is to either personify organizations, which is absurd, or to reject the voices of the people therein, which is unjust. And companies SHOULD have some sway. What the people want isnt always good for the company. But whats good for the company is frequently good for the people. Companies employ the people, they offer goods and services and an opportunity to learn trade and to work your way out of poverty, they stimulate the economy, etc. Which is where we get the argument that its better to bail out companies than citizens... because a bailed out citizen can pay his bills only until the money runs out while a bailed out company can employ those citizens for long term independence. Siding blindly with "the people", and in fact against companies, isnt necessarily going to be more just for more people in the long run. So yes, companies and corporations SHOULD have some political say because the people dont always know whats best for themselves. A company is literally the manifestation of millions of labor-hours of individual citizens voting with their money, their time, their tears and their sweat... not necessarily at a voting booth.

And again, if you can reject the voice of one organization of people, why not others? Every organization employs people, even if its a political party or a political activist group.

For clarity I want to point out that there do not exist pure democracies anywhere in the world. The US, for example, is a Constitutional republic. The voices of the people matter but not to the level people who advocate for democracy or falsely believe we are one think it does. Nor should it. Pure democracies are not good, precisely because smaller groups are steam rolled by larger ones. Whether its a smaller state, a smaller region, a smaller political party, or an organization or company. Representation for ALL citizens matters, not democratic majority. Pure democracies have been metaphorically likened to "two lions and a sheep voting on whats for dinner". A majority could vote for any number of heinous, evil or unjust things, at the expense of the minority.

For example, if you bought into the Lefts political narrative - which I dont btw - you cant accuse a whopping 70% majority of the US population who are White of participating in racism that diminishes the voices of all minorities while also demanding we convert to a pure democracy. Who would that serve? Its literally a logically inconsistent ideology. Nor can you allow one or two states, no matter how populous, to override the views of middle America, whose states should be equal members of the Union. This is especially true when you realize that many states voluntarily joined the union under the implied assumption/pretense that secession would be a right, but no longer have that right. The Republic exists to limit the powers of voters, and the Constitution exists to limit the power of government AND to enshrine your rights. Point is, pure democracy is bad, representation is good. Everyone already agrees with this. While the Right relies on Constitutional principles of elected representation over regions of governance, the Left is consumed with superficial demographical representation of unqualified, non-merit based identity politics. Regardless of the side of the aisle, we all acknowledge the importance of representation. We cant very well put every minor decision up for a popular nationwide vote either; that is a pragmatic truth.

I say that because eliminating the power of weaker, smaller populations to come together to form a lobby in order to persuade a government would be to reject their right for representation. If you support labor unions, for example, you should support lobbyists just the same, like you would any other political activist group who feel under-represented and want to exact political change. For all the bad they have also done good. Labor unions, employee rights, healthy and safety... all result from lobbying. Without lobbying our government would have most likely left it up to the free market to decide.

As previously stated in my first paragraph, bribery is already illegal and we should put a stop to it. But not all "wealthy organizations" persuade government through bribery. Sometimes its through advertisement. Or being able to hire lawyers or file suits. Thats what political parties do. Should that be made illegal as well when voters are manipulated to cast their vote due to false or misleading political advertisements? That seems like an equally heinous and unjust use of financial capital to persuade politics and it seems to me to fall under the same umbrella. I fail to see the distinction between a political activist group lobbying government by buying time on the congressional floor and a political group lobbying the people by buying advertisements or media outlets to manipulate your vote. They are functionally the same thing.

Its also been said to me that a lobby is comprised of lawyers rather than citizens. Again though, someones choice of career or education, or their improved competence to be effectual at what they do, shouldnt be used against them. To call out lobbying as "unfair because they're better at it" is just laughable because its so envious. Its not the methods OR the results youd be complaining about.

So is it really the method of lobbying youre opposed to? Im just curious.


What people seem to forget, is that lobbyists are necessary. Laws are written by law-makers, who are overwhelmingly lawyers by training(the reason for that, is that taking a multi-year break from almost all careers imposes a huge penalty on your skill-set, e.g. a scientist who stops publishing to be a legislator for 5 years, can't return to a science career, while for a lawyer, having 5 years of legislative experience and connections is a huge bonus) and are generally clueless about any other areas of expertise, often to a comical extent, e.g:

  • A proposed NYC ban on adding salt to food during cooking, made by a legislator who had never cooked in his life and didn't know that the presence of salt during cooking chemically alters the flavor and texture of food, but had had his father die from hypertension caused by too much sodium and so thought that it was a good deed to force restaurants to give people a choice to add salt afterwards, as he thought it would make no difference to the taste: https://chefpointcafe.wordpress.com/tag/new-york/
  • In that case, the NY restaurant industry had lobbyists that could stand up for it's interests.

The same applies to thousands of industries where slight technical distinctions, that are incomprehensible to clueless legislators can mean life or death for businesses.

Unfortunately, professional lobbyists with decades of experience of working with said clueless legislators, know exactly where to push their buttons and appease their egos, that regular people don't. Here's an example from hearings on a defeated right-to-repair legislation, where the professional lobbyists from the electronics industry put on a master-class in bulshitting legislators. Watch at least a minute from the starting time in the link. You'll see a lobbyist literally biting her fingernails in glee as she sees he colleague's lies land on the legislators and then hear how the lobbyist makes up a non-existent "magtrometer" device in a microwave that will explode and kill people if repair isn't restricted to OEMs: https://youtu.be/s8BVq5tcN4c?t=566

  • 1
    This is a critical point - despite the abusive language. With government doing so much, lobbying is vital to competent government. You really can't legislate on say, workplace health and safety without engaging with all sorts of stateholders in great detail. And those industries will need specialists in various legal and regulatory issues to engage with the government. The ABSENCE of lobbying would be a disaster. Commented Nov 28, 2020 at 12:09

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