If the lobbyist is good he will:
#1 Form allegiances with active legislators & influential men and women on capitol hill (usually through wining & dining & campaign contributions)
#2 Call in their allegiances with their congressmen to keep legislation that would harm them from passing, or promote legislation that would help them.
REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE: Pharma lobby, insurance lobby & health care legislation
"The drug companies form the most powerful lobby in Washington. They never lose." - Senator Bernie Sanders
Pharma has had three significant constant "fundamental goals" for the past ten years: encouraging the use & quick acceptance of vaccines, encouraging the use & acceptance of pain killers as an alternative to surgery for non-fatal ailments, and keeping washington from interfering with this industry's ability to profit (importing drugs from overseas, etc.). So being heavily involved in something like our current proposed health care legislation would benefit them greatly. If they can convince their allies on capitol hill that promoting vaccines for preventitive care & painkillers instead of surgery would save money and keep people out of costly hospitals (less to cover on the "public option").... and that reducing drug costs in exchange for a promise not to interfere with medicade & a promise not to import drugs would be a really smart buisness move, they would effectively secure all 3 main objectives. And that's exactly what they're hoping to accomplish.... looks like they're doing a good job so far.
"I think the pharmaceutical industry has been quite constructive in this [health care] debate, and the savings that they've put on the table are real and significant and are appreciated." - President Obama
It's not just the parma lobby and not just this piece of legislation… this is just a recent example. It happens all the time, on almost all legislation, and ethical or not it is perfectly legal. It's common for lobbyists to compete over one piece of legislation as well (ie. insurance lobby v. pharma lobby in the case of the health care bill). So not all lobbys are unified in their objective. They actually hate other lobbyists as much as people hate them. NORML, for example, has gained considerable support from 20-somethings who, in the same breath, will condemn lobbyists and the power of the lobby. And most industries (including the ones you & I work for) have multiple lobbyists working on our behalf, even though most of us hate that idea. The idea that "it's okay for me and my objective, just not for them and theirs" is pretty common on capitol hill. Which is why I was not surprised that the pharma lobby openly & unashamedly exposed the “evil insurance lobby”s interest in this bill failing right off the bat, but failed to mention their own financial interests in seeing this pass.
If a lobbyist is experienced he will eventually try to...
#1 Secure a position in the federal government (congress, an administration, a cabinet position, etc.).
#2 Use his influence to get other “like minded individuals” appointed or elected and in positions of power
SOME REALLY GOOD EXAMPLES:
Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary (former lobbyist for goldman sachs) Mark Patterson
Biden's Senior Aide (former lobbyist for fannie mae) Tom Donilon
Defense Department’s deputy secretary (lobbyist for Raytheon, one of the nation’s biggest defense contractors) William Lynn.
These are just a few. It's quite common. Overall I don't fear the lobby. They know their way around D.C. better than most and are just glorified salesmen. I fear the green impressionable politicians who welcome their campaign contributions without properly considering the strings attached. And seasonsed politicans with cabinets full of lobbyists without caring about the ramifications of groups in those positions. There is a place for the lobby & a place for policy makers in DC. I would just like to see more seperation between the two groups and more personal accountability on behalf of our legislators.
· 1 decade ago