Regulating Lobbying

June 6, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 21
Do current laws have too many loopholes?
By Chuck McCutcheon


Bruce Josten (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Bruce Josten is chief lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has become a powerhouse in American politics. During the 2010 election cycle, it spent nearly $33 million on election-related ads and other communications. Most Chamber money supports Republican candidates or opposes Democrats. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Lobbying is undergoing a transformation. Once seen mainly as glad-handing influence peddlers buttonholing lawmakers in Capitol corridors, federal government lobbyists today face multiple challenges: A gridlocked Congress, an end to special-interest funding provisions known as earmarks that once created big business for lobbyists and an Obama administration that has taken steps to curtail their access and influence. Increasing numbers of lobbyists are calling themselves “strategic advisers” effectively to skirt a 2007 law enacted in response to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Since then, Congress has shown little interest in closing loopholes in lobbying laws, and many observers predict it will take another major scandal for any action to occur. Meanwhile, lobbyists are forming closer alliances with public relations firms and other entities while trying to better explain the breadth of their services. Yet the industry continues to fight an image problem: In a 2013 poll, lobbying scored lowest among 22 professions on honesty and ethics.

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
Party Politics