Lobbying Boom

July 22, 2005 • Volume 15, Issue 26
Should the influence industry be regulated more closely?
By Peter Katel

Introduction

Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, once one of the city's most influential lobbyists, is being investigated after allegations were made that he padded his bills and took kickbacks during his work representing Native American tribes.  (Getty Images/Susana Raab)
Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, once one of the city's most influential lobbyists, is being investigated after allegations were made that he padded his bills and took kickbacks during his work representing Native American tribes. (Getty Images/Susana Raab)

Lobbying is a growth industry. The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled during the past decade, to 26,013, and last year clients paid lobbyists an unprecedented $2 billion to help influence Congress. Lobbyists meet with lawmakers and their staffers so often they have become part of the nation's legislative machinery. In addition, they raise and donate millions of dollars in campaign cash. Political professionals of all stripes view lobbyists as indispensable experts and persuaders — and as honorable professionals in most cases. But lobbying and corruption have gone hand-in-hand since the 19th century. The latest cloud to shadow lobbyists is a controversy over tens of millions of dollars in fees paid to Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff by Native American tribes seeking to keep their legal casinos flourishing. In the wake of the still-unresolved allegations against Abramoff, open-government advocates say new disclosure rules are needed so lobbyists operate with more transparency.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Lobbying and Special Interests
Sep. 29, 2017  Think Tanks in Transition
Jun. 06, 2014  Regulating Lobbying
Jul. 22, 2005  Lobbying Boom
Dec. 26, 1997  Regulating Nonprofits
Dec. 15, 1989  Getting a Grip on Influence Peddling
Jun. 20, 1986  Think Tanks
Sep. 26, 1980  Special-Interest Politics
Jun. 30, 1978  Corporate Assertiveness
Dec. 13, 1950  Revision of the Lobby Act
May 08, 1946  Congressional Lobbying
Mar. 07, 1928  Regulation of Congressional Lobbies
Jun. 06, 1925  Trade Associations and the Law
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Lobbying and Special Interests