Definition: The term Lobbyists is a word that is given to a group of individual or persons who is/ are employed in order to convince or persuade the legislatures (i.e. the elected members of parliament) in order to vote in favor of a bill or law that will favor the majority of citizens or the employers of the lobbyists.
The word lobbyist is derived from the word Lobby which means the formation of a group that aims at intentionally persuading, influencing and convincing the decisions that are made by the legislatures, senior government officials, constituents and other advocacy groups. Therefore, it should be noted the these groups are aimed at ensuring that the maters that pertains to there interests are adhered to and made to be law thus ensuring that they a well represented and governed. The lobbying is also the process where a group petitions a government to intervene in special issues that are of strong national interest (Hahn, 2009).
How they conduct their functions
Lobbyists are a group of individuals who form a group with the aim of imposing sanctions on the government or even persuading the legislatures to vote towards a certain bill that reflects their interest. It comprises of a group of intellectuals, retired congress men and human right activists who are aimed at monitoring / correcting the way the government conducts its duties and runs its business (Morgan, 2007). They might be employed by groups such as labor unions, religious or social welfare associations, and other special groups, human right groups and individuals with some special interests amongst other groups of individuals and organizations that would want their services in order to help them achieve their intended mission in the society.
Duties and Responsibilities of the Lobbyists
There are several different duties that the lobbyists and the lobby groups in any given country perform some of these duties includes the sensitization of the citizens and civil servants of their rights (The Debatabase Book, 2003). This will not only aim at improving their support amongst the citizens and civil servants but will provide the group of the sensitized individuals with the opportunity of knowing their rights more and reduce the cases of violation of their rights by the government or any other person.
A lobbyist is also a representative of the public /client interests in a special forum with the legislatures or a senior government official. This is where lobbyists will be in a position to attend some of the meeting that are of national interest and in these meeting the lobbyists will be able to air the demands of the public. At the same time convince the legislatures and the government officials in to voting or even implementing their plans as it will be of great importance to the public.
The lobbyists also read and interpret the meaning of the legislative bill that will be passed by the legislatures to becoming laws. And from the interpretation of the lobbyist they will be able to determine the advantages or disadvantages of these laws on there clients. Thus providing the lobbyists with the opportunity of sharing there ideas with the legislatures in order to ensure that they are in a position to benefits their clients without interfering with their interests. In addition, they petition the officials in reforming the laws in order to suite the interests of their clients (Phil, 2008).
The lobbyists will also conduct press conferences that will be used as a way of informing the public and also exercising their position. Indeed, they ensure that the public is well informed of the stand in which the lobby group is trying to take the lobby groups will also use the media as a way in which they will be able to help the public in knowing their rights and understanding of the legislative laws (Morgan, 2007). They are also made aware of the effects of the law on them; this is by providing them with the advantages and disadvantages of the legislative laws and also providing the viewers /audiences with their reasons of supporting or neglecting the given law and regulation.
This paper highlights on the pros and cons of the lobbyists in the United States of America government; this is after we have identified and understood the responsibilities and duties of the lobbyists and the lobby groups and its importance to the public. This is especially a very important aspect that will have on the public and the government operations and actions (Morgan, 2007).
Pros of the lobbyists in the United States of America government
There are very many important things that that lobbyists and lobby groups have on a given states, and this is clearly portrayed from the definition of the term lobbyists. This is because they play a major role in the monitoring the way the country is being run; this is by keeping watch or even convincing the government and the legislatures to deal with a situation that is of national importance first before its effects penetrate deep into the society. This, shields the common-man who has low income and minimum wages from more problems; that could be prevented if the appropriate demands were taken into deep consideration and not neglected by the government officials and legislatures for a long time.
One advantage of the Lobbyists is that the lobbyists have played a major role in improving the governance of the society; this is experienced in the ways the government has transformed the United States of America government to be more reliable to its citizens and address pressing issues. As a result of these pressures and persuasions the legislature will pass bill that will provide the citizens with good policies that are good for the development of the nation (The Debatabase Book, 2003). This is expressed in the racial discrimination bill that was passed in the United States of America some in the early 20th century when the lobbyists complained that the Blacks and the other minor races in America a were being ill -treated by the white Americans in the country. This resulted to the abolition of slave trade and the recognition of all the races in America as equal and also provided the same treatment and subjecting any body who is involved in any form of racial discrimination to heavy fines and punishment since it was a violation of their human rights and a breach of the American constitution.
Lobbyists have also improved the lives and existence of many endangered species; this is because the lobbyists will impose some new legislative laws that will ensure that the legislatures pass in order to ensure that they are supporting the existence of the endangered species such as animals, plants and other designated areas (Hahn, 2009). These will help the government to preserve some of these natural resources and animals. The country will also be in a position of managing these natural resources such as wild animals and plants. The lobbyists are also able to have a legal basis to protect these resources in the long run; thus these lobbyists end up making the change that is most effective to the people in the country. Consequently, the lobbyists help the people and government to maintain the natural resources from more and more safe and protected.
Cons of the lobbyists in the United States of America government
Despite the increased advocacy that have been talked about in the previous section on the advantages of the lobbyist in the United States of America government it has turned out that the lobbyists have also some negative image that are seen as a way of denying the citizens the opportunity of getting the best governance. This is because the lobbyists will be compromised or even convinced by their clients who comprises of a smaller section of the public who are very rich and want the legislative law to be passed in order for it to benefit them only and at the same time molest the majority of the population.
This is a clear indication that the lobbyists don't always help in the improvement of the social standards and governance of the country. This is because the lobbyists are well compromised with in order to lure the legislatures and the top government officials into vote or even support the decision that they are supporting despite the offences that are associated with their actions (The Debatabase Book, 2003). A good example is when the lobbyists cooperated with the white house in order to support the bid of the buying of the Enron shares. Thus making the stakeholders loose a lot of money as they never knew that the company was at the verge of collapsing yet the lobbyists were still pushing for the legislation that would result to the company to be enlisted in the stock exchange and conduct its activities.
Lobbyists are also seen as the most corrupt individuals or groups of people in the United States of America; this is because they impose the government into legalizing of legislations that are for the benefit of a few influential individuals, while sidelining the benefits of the entire population (Phil, 2008). This will definitely result to capitalism management of the country, where the government actions and activities are influenced with the few rich and wealthy individuals who will dominate the greater economy of the nations while the greater percentage of the nation will basically rely on the minimum income. In this regard they use the lobbyist to dominate the entire country from the corrupt deals of the lobbyists who pushed for the benefit of the rich but not for the poor.
Lobbyism has also resulted to the marginalization of the American society; this is clearly seen when legislatures accord or even provides only the lobbyists with the attention and room for dialogue and negotiation. They can't just provide or even give any individual with any audience, this is clear indication that shows how the country is governed by the lobbyists who act as the intermediary that connects the common citizens and the legislatures or top most government officials. This will result to the distortion of the information or problems that are facing the citizens (Phil, 2008). This will eventually lead to the lobbyists directing the ways in which the government should govern the country. At the same time the lobbyists will use this as an avenue of deviating from the interest of these public and push for there own individual benefits without the influence of the local individuals who don't have any powers to alter the passed legislation.
Lobbying has also resulted to dirty politics and inclined governance in the United States of America that aims as serving the interest of a few section the suspected legislation tend to support. In this case dirty politics has resulted when the lobbyists tend to influence the politicians into supporting their views or vote for their legislations and incase an individual fails to support the ideas of the individual that will be threatened, assassinated, de-campaigned against during the next election, arraigned in court for corruption allegations or even given greater deals that they cant resist. This will definitely result to the legislatures to be swayed and vote for the legislations that are against their own wishes this for the sake of resorting there seats and influence in the public perspective (Phil, 2008).
Lobbyists also affect the lives of the other individuals in the society this is felt and seen when the lobbyists will advocate for the implementation of the legislation laws of a given law that will be used by the government in running the country. The views of the lobbyists will not be representing the entire population interests, thus making it difficult for the less privileged individuals in the society to suffer the losses that they are not supposed to help them in the society that they live (Hahn, 2009). An example is when the Obama government introduced a bill that aimed at reducing the prices of medical care that will also se a reduction of the prices of drugs and medical consultancy;
There was a group of lobbyists that was lead by Tom Hamburger who was highly against the bill by president Obama. He advocated that the legislatures should not vote in favor of the of the Obama health bill as it will provide a large percentage of the American citizens with proper and improved medical attention as opposed to the past where the only the wealthy would be in a position of getting the best medical attention. The passing of the Obama medical plan ensured that the majority of Americans had easy access to medical attention and cover incase the s bill failed the section that will suffer the most will be the poor this is because they will not be able to afford the medical cover that the government will be offering to them.
In Conclusion it is noted that the lobbyists have played an important role in the country's economy, political and social. This is because they have to some point ensured that they are in a position advocating for the passing of bills that will be able to manage the country and ensure that the country will pass bills that will be used in managing the country (Phil, 2008). And from the analysis that has been previously conducted the Lobbyists have been seen to be individuals that are responsible for the many ills that have befallen the government. This is because they are believed to be individuals that have been pushing the government and other senior government to implement laws that will help them succeed without considering the views and demands of the citizens that forms the large percentages of the American population.