Ethical Lobbying Is Not an Oxymoron

By Kerns, Peggy | State Legislatures, July-August 2011 | Go to article overview

Ethical Lobbying Is Not an Oxymoron


Kerns, Peggy, State Legislatures


Like it or not, lobbying is important to the legislative process. Although the public may view lobbying negatively, not all lobbyists are paid hired guns. They can be average citizens who are simply expressing their views.

One thing is certain: The way lobbying is done affects the ethical culture of the institution.

There seems to be an inverse relationship between the growth of lobbying and its effects on how citizens view government, according to "The Ethics of Lobbying," a handbook from the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

"As public participation in politics has declined, the power and influence of lobbyists have increased," the authors write. "Public confidence in the integrity and effectiveness of ... government is eroding."

The lobbyist industry is concerned about this trend. The American League of Lobbyists, a national organization for lobbyists and public policy professionals, updated its Code of Lobbying Ethics in 2010 to more thoroughly outline the guidelines and describe the standards for conduct.

These guidelines include conducting lobbying activities with honesty and integrity, avoiding conflicts of interest, educating the public about lobbying, and exhibiting proper respect for government institutions.

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Ethical Lobbying Is Not an Oxymoron
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