Lobbying

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Lobbying (also Lobby) is speech with the intention of influencing decisions made by legislators and officials in the government by individuals, other legislators, constituents, or advocacy groups. A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby. Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.

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Overview

In the United States the Internal Revenue Service makes a clear distinction for nonprofit organizations between lobbying and advocacy limiting the former to "asking policymakers to take a specific position on a specific piece of legislation, or that ask others to ask the same"; in common language, the definition of lobbying is normally broader. Other activities that seek to influence policies, possibly including public demonstrations and the filing of "friend of the court briefs", are termed as "advocacy".[1]

The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee argued that while there are shortcomings in the regulation of the lobbying industry in the United Kingdom, "The practice of lobbying in order to influence political decisions is a legitimate and necessary part of the democratic process. Individuals and organizations reasonably want to influence decisions that may affect them, those around them, and their environment. Government in turn needs access to the knowledge and views that lobbying can bring."[2]

Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying.[3][4][5][6] Economist Thomas Sowell defends corporate lobbying as simply an example of a group having better knowledge of its interests than the people at large do of theirs.[7]

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