Lobbying in general – but business lobbying in particular – has changed a lot in the past two decades with the transformations in technology, the continued polarization of Washington, and the fragmentation of the media. In this new world, business lobbying – both strategically and tactically – is beginning to look a lot like electoral campaigns. And this raises a host of questions about what’s the most effective means of advocacy in this new world. The use of research, media (both earned and paid), grassroots and elite mobilization, are playing more prominent roles in the advocacy world. But just like political campaigns are asking new questions about the effectiveness of various tactics – business groups need to start doing the same. The fact that the growth in the size of the lobbying industry is both a direct result of the growth of government – but also a facilitator of government growth – is also explored in this article. Finally, all of the changes in the tactics of lobbying raise serious questions about whether the current legal framework and even the popular or academic understanding of advocacy accurately captures who is really engaged in the influence business.
About the author
Gary Andres is Majority Staff Director of the House Energy and Commerce. He holds a PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Prior to joining the Committee, Andres was the Vice Chair of Policy and Research for Dutko-Grayling, a lobbying and public affairs firm where he oversaw the company’s research, polling and strategic communications efforts. From 2002–2010 he was a regular opinion page writer for The Washington Times and The Weekly Standard. Earlier in his career, Andres served as a congressional staffer, a corporate researcher for a financial firm, and then a lobbyist for a major telecommunications company. He also worked as a White House staffer in the Legislative Affairs Departments in the Administrations of both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Bill Bishop. The Big Sort: Why Clustering of Like Minded America is Tearing us ApartNew York: Houghton-Mifflin 2008. Mathew Levendusky. The Partisan Sort: How Liberals Became Democrats and Conservatives Became Republicans Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2009. Sean M. Theriault. Party Polarization in Congress. New York: Cambridge University Press 2008. These books do a good job tracing the history of these trends.
Sidney Blumenthal, The Permanent Campaign. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1980.
Morris Fiorina, Congress Keystone of the Washington Establishment. New Haven: Yale University Press 1977.
Kate Ackley, “Lobbying Without a Trace.” Roll Call, March 20, 2013.
©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston