Measuring political influence is a hard problem. And depending on how you set about measuring it, you can come to very different conclusions.Continue reading
Recent disclosure measures were supposed to provide more accurate reporting of who lobbyists were and what they did. Instead, they just drove lobbying underground, making it harder to track than ever.Continue reading
Haley Barbour and Ed Rogers’ piece, “The Lobbyists’ Lament,” is an unintentionally remarkable example of how lobbying works. It’s lively, persuasive and factually correct. As is most lobbying. Problem is, it’s also one-sided. As is most lobbying.Continue reading
With the help of the lobbying industry, Washington’s regional economy seems to have weathered the economic storm of recent years. Curiously, though, the seemingly simple question “How much lobbying is there in Washington?” is surprisingly hard to answer. After Congress passed the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), which ostensibly required all “lobbyists” to report their activities on behalf of paying clients, the answer should be a no-brainer: just find the legally-mandated disclosure forms, and count them up. The Center for Responsive Politics, with support from the Sunlight Foundation, has been doing this (well!) for years.
The problem is that just about everybody in the influence world knows that these numbers fall way short of reality. You might even say “under-the-radar,” “stealth,” or “shadow” lobbying is a bit of an Open Secret in Washington. What we don’t know is just how many shadow lobbyists there are.Continue reading