What is Lobbying?

At its basic level, lobbying is something that ordinary people do all the time.  It’s part of human nature to explain or advocate for a certain need or purpose.  For example, children lobby their parents for a toy they want, or a raise in their allowance.

Of course, lobbying to most people means someone asking for something from government.  In particular, the people asking are often thought of as “special interests.”  But every person, organization or business is a “special interest” at some time or other.  Individuals present their interests in many settings, including schools, neighborhood groups, local governments at the State Capitol and in Washington, DC. 

Have you ever worked to initiate a neighborhood watch on your block? Found support from local businesses for a youth activity?  Asked for an improvement at a park? If so, you have lobbied.

What is a professional lobbyist?

One form of lobbying is done by professionals. Like lawyers in a courtroom, professional lobbyists represent their clients in front of a government body.

Lobbyists share information with and work to persuade government decision makers on behalf of a client (usually an organization). Some are full-time lobbyists; others practice law or public relations, where lobbying is just one of their job responsibilities.

Some organizations and businesses have lobbyists on staff, while others hire outside (contract) lobbyists. Associations representing numerous organizations or individuals interested in a particular issue, like chambers of commerce or trade unions, also lobby at the Capitol.

MGRC published a brochure that gives a general overview of lobbying. 

Contact our office to request Lobbyist Brochures: [email protected]