Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"Good Lobbying"? (Editor's Column)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

"Good Lobbying"? (Editor's Column)

Article excerpt

TO QUITE A FEW PEOPLE, THAT phrase would seem to be a contradiction in terms. As a choice of profession, "lobbyist" is unlikely to be on the top-ten list.

The word has a taint. Media types (those bastions of purity) often characterize lobbyists as sleazy influence peddlers--paid by all manner of suspect organizations to sway elected officials -- as if the sanctity of the democratic process was somehow being dragged through the swamp.

The fact is, the former swamp that is Washington has spawned scoundrels, scalawags, and sleazy characters from day one. Some of them duly elected representatives of the people, and, yes, some of them lobbyists. All that proves is that power and money can and do corrupt some people. But it also serves to draw the distinction between the bad and the good.

Good lobbying provides a necessary and useful service. After all, the concept of a trade association, which few would quarrel with, is almost synonymous with lobbying. Within that sphere, some groups take the high road. Some take whatever road works. The recent history of corporate behavior should have made it abundantly clear that "whatever works" can become "anything goes." The same applies to the business of lobbying.

In preparing the cover story this month we interviewed the ABA's top two lobbyists, Edward Yingling and Floyd Stoner. It struck us afterward, as it has before, that ABA members are well represented. We say that based on many years as outside observers of ABA's government relations operation. It would be hard to find two more informed and professional people lobbying for the industry than Yingling and Stoner. It is not easy balancing numerous, often conflicting, demands of member institutions with the realities of that unique ecosystem called Capitol Hill. …

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