Lobbying (also Persuasion) is the act of attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of officials in their daily life, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many types of people, associations and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups). Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituencies, meaning a voter or bloc of voters within their electoral district, or not; they may engage in lobbying as a business, or not. Professional lobbyists are people whose business is trying to influence legislation, regulation, or other government decisions, actions, or policies on behalf of a group or individual who hires them. Individuals and nonprofit organizations can also lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job (for instance, a CEO meeting with a representative about a project important to their company, or an activist meeting with their legislator in an unpaid capacity). Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.
Each year, lobbying groups in Washington spend billions of dollars trying to buy influence. Corporations, special-interest groups, unions, and single-interest groups like the NRA — all of them have poured money into efforts to shape laws and regulations to fit their interests. No doubt about it: most lobbies are forces to be reckoned with. Despite numerous criticisms, lobbying in the US is protected under the First Amendment, which enshrined the right to petition the government. Recently, though, legislation was passed that forced lobbying organizations to be more transparent in their deals.
Top Lobbying Groups
5 Crazy Facts About Lobbyists
What is lobbying and can it be good?
In It To Win
How Lobbying Works in Government
The Business of America is Lobbying