Lobbying in the Shadows: How Private Interests Hide from Public Scrutiny, and Why that Matters
Cigler, Allan J, Burdett A. Loomis, and Anthony J. Nownes. 2015. Interest Group Politics 9th Edition. Washington: CQ Press.
40 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2014
Date Written: October 7, 2014
In this chapter, I explore how common it is for professionals engaged in policy influence activities to report or not report lobbying under the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), develop a new measure to detect the effects of unreported lobbying activities, and examine alternative explanations for the causes and consequences of unreported lobbying. First, I review normative theories of political representation to make the case that interest groups and their lobbyists are absolutely necessary for our democracy to function well. Second, I evaluate the LDA through the lens of targeted transparency policy (Fung, Graham, and Weil 2007) to highlight the law's weaknesses. Third, I empirically examine how LDA disclosures have changed over time, especially since the passage of its first major revision in 2007 under the comparatively partisan Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA). Finally, I recommend modest policy changes to improve lobbying and influence transparency that preserves political speech protections.
Keywords: Lobbying Disclosure Act, Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, lobbyists, lobbying, interest groups, transparency
JEL Classification: D72, D73, D78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation