Lobbying and Transparency

Lobbying might evoke images of power brokers in Washington, D.C., but lobbyists are also influential at the local level of policy. Some municipalities are making an effort to bring transparency to this local-level lobbying with varied outcomes related to formats, quality, and completeness. Looking deeper at the existing landscape of lobbying disclosure shows what a complete suite of open lobbying data would include, highlights the political levers that affect the openness of this data, and shows the kinds of accountability and context that can result from its release.

Sunlight Research and Blogs on Lobbying Data

Lobbying Data Research — This editable research document looks at everything from how cities release lobbying data to the stories that the data can empower.

The Landscape of Municipal Lobbying Data — The amount of lobbying data that cities release, and how they release it, varies widely.

Lobbying Data Recommendations

Municipal Lobbying Data Roadmap — We created a Municipal Lobbying Data Guidebook to help local policymakers and advocates create stronger lobbying disclosure. You can read more about it on our blog and read the guidebook here.

Evaluating Municipal Lobbying Data

How do municipalities measure up to standards for lobbying disclosure? A close look at three cities — Austin, Chicago, and Philadelphia — shows what they’re doing well and where their lobbying disclosure can improve.

The Impact of Opening Up Lobbying Data

From apps that make the information easier to sift through to news stories that investigate how lobbying impacts the political process, opening up lobbying data can have many impacts. Learn more below and on our blog.


  • ChicagoLobbyists.org — This site put Chicago lobbying data from 2010 into a searchable format and compiled lists from the data such as the highest-paid lobbyists, the most active clients, and the most-lobbied city agencies.

  • Lobbying.ph — This site provides a searchable database of lobbyist registrations and reports in Philadelphia.

News stories: