Are they an ethical part of business or is it legal bribery?
Political Lobbyist’s have been in existence since the First Amendment of the US Constitution, established the right to petition. This amendment assured the right of every United States citizen, to petition Congress, state government/legislatures, and all courts at any level and in a nutshell under this right of petition, individuals and groups of citizens and corporations may lobby for laws and policies that suit them. However, with this protection some have accused lobbyists of abusing this privilege as well as conducting themselves in a manor not consistent with ethical or moral values. In addressing the ...view middle of the document...
(American League of Lobbyists, 2008)
Since the earliest days of the nation, Lobbyists have been popular political villains. Rules for lobbyist conduct were first required in 1876, in which lobbyists were required to register. In 1946 Congress passed the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, which required more extensive disclosures, defined who constituted a “lobbyist,” and made disclosure of lobbying expenditures the law. Shortly thereafter, in a 1954 case, the Supreme Court narrowed the definition of lobbying. Since this time, lobbyists were quite adept at finding other loopholes to avoid the necessary filing of disclosure forms, which prompted the enactment of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 which was successful at closing some of these. The 'Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006, which was brought about following a huge United States political scandal, otherwise known as the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal, uncovered in the 1990’s. 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. A major portion of this Act bars lobbyists themselves from buying gifts and meals for legislators. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 further clamped down on Lobbyist actions by amending the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, thereby, strengthening lobbyist public disclosure requirements, funding, and restrictions placed on gifts given to members of Congress and their staff. Upon assuming the presidency, President Obama, signed into law two executive orders, which attempt to rein in the influence of lobbyists, bring increased accountability to federal spending, and limit influence of special interests.
Even with all the attention to lobbyist conduct and public scrutiny in the past, today, lobbying still remains a billion-dollar industry. According to the Center for Responsive Politics,”$3.47 billion was spent on lobbying in 2009, when 13,741 registered lobbyists were active”. (Center for Responsive Politics, 2009)
Could some political lobbyist tactics be construed as “legal bribery”?
In today’s environment and with the increased scrutiny being placed on the lobby community, one would have to wonder how it has been possible for this type of behavior to exist for such a long period of time. According to Mr. Cook, “During the First Congress, Pennsylvania Sen. William Maclay wrote in his diary that New York merchants employed “treats, dinners, attentions” to delay passage of a tariff bill”. (Cook, 2009) This behavior has been prevalent within our culture for many years as the previous statement suggests. Arguments can be made that there was just not enough done during certain presidential terms that have morphed this problem into what it is today. Mr. Cross states “The deregulation that marked the Reagan era was the nexus of laissez faire ideologues and corporate lobbying, and it encouraged...