Whenever citizens, industries, corporations or other special interest groups want to inject their political opinions and desires into the legislation process, they employ a tactic known as lobbying. Quite simply, lobbying is an act that attempts to influence specific legislation. It is important to note that lobbying does not address general arguments and must either specifically oppose or support the legislation in question. Also, lobbying can only be applied to public officials involved in the legislative process.
Under current rules, there are two types of lobbying: direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying.
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Direct lobbying is the act of communicating a specific position directly to a legislator, staff member and any other public official who has a voice in a piece of legislation. Lobbying is only constituted whenever there is specific legislation in question and the lobbyist has a specific point of view he wants the legislator to endorse. Even if there is not a bill currently on the table, direct lobbying can ask the legislator to initiate legislation.
Grassroots lobbying communicates a particular view regarding a specific legislative proposal to the general public and persuades citizens to relay this view to their local legislators. Any type of communication that asks the reader to contact a legislator or provides the reader with the address, e-mail or phone number of a legislator is considered grassroots lobbying.
There are specific rules that govern mass media and other advertisements. These rules are complex and should be reviewed prior to engaging in grassroots lobbying.
Types Of Lobbyists
There are two basic types of lobbyists. The consultant lobbyist is paid to lobby on behalf of a certain client. Many of these lobbyists are lawyers, accountants and other professionals.
The second type of lobbyist is the in-house lobbyist. This is an employee of the client enlisting the lobbying activities. Lobbying is generally a significant part of an in-house lobbyist's official duties.
Effects Of Lobbying
There are many citizens who believe lobbyists unfairly skew the legislative process in favour of those with the most wealth. While politicians do receive lots of financial donations from wealthy interests, they are also well aware that their constituents determine their fate at the polls.
However, politicians expect to be lobbied since they are elected to represent their communities. Lobbying is one way for them to stay up-to-date with the important issues and views of their constituents.
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