Revision of the Lobby Act

December 13, 1950

Report Outline
Role of Lobbying in Representative Government
Regulation of Lobbying by Statute
Call for More Light on Lobbies
Special Focus

Role of Lobbying in Representative Government

New light will be thrown upon the scope of lobby activity and the methods used by present-day lobbyists to bring pressure on Congress by the forthcoming final report of the select committee to investigate lobbying set up by the House in 1949. The report will include recommendations for revision of the present lobby act by the 82nd Congress to make it a more effective instrument with which to obtain full public disclosure of lobby operations. Interim reports of the committee have shown expenditures of more than $55 million by some 600 organizations and 2,000 individuals since mid-1946 to sway action by Congress. This is only the spending of which public accounting has been made. In the opinion of Chairman Buchanan (D., Pa.) of the investigating committee, complete disclosure would show lobbying to be “a billion dollar industry.”

Three men who withheld information desired by the lobby investigating committee are now awaiting trial as contumacious witnesses. Contempt citations were voted by the House in September for Edward A. Rumely, of the Committee for Constitutional Government; William L. Patterson, of the Civil Rights Congress; and Joseph P. Kamp, of the Constitutional Educational League. Indictments were handed down, Nov. 27, by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia. In another legal action expected to come before the federal district court in Washington in January, the National Association of Manufacturers seeks a declaratory judgment that the lobby act is unconstitutional.

Growth of Organized Pressure on Legislatures

Charges of lobbying to promote or obstruct legislation have been a commonplace of American political life since Woodrow Wilson in 1913 denounced an “insidious lobby” which he accused of tampering with the administration's tariff bill. In 1949 President Truman attacked the real estate lobby as “a little group of ruthless men” engaged in a “deliberate campaign of misrepresentation and distortion” against the housing bill then pending in Congress. The U. S. Savings and Loan League, a member of the real estate lobby, later charged that federal housing officials had given support to various public housing organizations as a means of promoting their aims, Advocates of the administration health program have attacked the American Medical Association for its efforts to defeat health insurance legislation, and the A.M.A. has repeatedly charged Federal Security Administrator Ewing with lobbying for health insurance.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Lobbying and Special Interests
Apr. 15, 2022  Corporate Advocacy
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
Lobbying and Special Interests