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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Lobby \Lob"by\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Lobbied; p. pr. & vb. n. Lobbying.] To address or solicit members of a legislative body in the lobby or elsewhere, with the purpose to influence their votes; in an extended sense, to try to influence decision-makers in any circumstance. [U.S.]


n. The act of one who lobbies. vb. (present participle of lobby English)


Lobbying (also lobby) is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in a government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many types of people, associations and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups). Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituencies, meaning a voter or block of voters within his or her electoral district, or not; they may engage in lobbying as a business, or not. Professional lobbyists are people whose business is trying to influence legislation on behalf of a group or individual who hires them. Individuals and nonprofit organizations can also lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job (for instance, a CEO meeting with a representative about a project important to his/her company, or an activist meeting with his/her legislator in an unpaid capacity). Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential.

The ethics and morality of lobbying are dual-edged. Lobbying is often spoken of with contempt, when the implication is that people with inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law (twisting it away from fairness) in order to serve their own interests. When people who have a duty to act on behalf of others, such as elected officials with a duty to serve their constituents' interests or more broadly the public good, can benefit by shaping the law to serve the interests of some private parties, a conflict of interest exists. Many critiques of lobbying point to the potential for conflicts of interest to lead to agent misdirection or the intentional failure of an agent with a duty to serve an employer, client, or constituent to perform those duties. The failure of government officials to serve the public interest as a consequence of lobbying by special interests who provide benefits to the official is an example of agent misdirection.

In contrast, another side of lobbying is making sure that others' interests are duly defended against others' corruption, or even simply making sure that minority interests are fairly defended against mere tyranny of the majority. For example, a medical association may lobby a legislature about increasing the restrictions in smoking prevention laws, and tobacco companies lobby to reduce them: the first regarding smoking as injurious to health and the second arguing it is part of the freedom of choice.

Usage examples of "lobbying".

Dick Artemus would crinkle his face as if he'd just stepped in dog shit, as if lobbying was the most loathsome job in the universe.

Antony Barnett, Britain’s best investigative journalist, got a tip that lobbying firms close to Blair’s New Labour Party government were getting their hands on inside information to pass on to their clients.

Big business would provide the gilded glue, shepherded by the lobbying firm set up by Liddle and Draper, GPC.

The government's policy has to swing like an erratic pendulum from group to group, hitting some and favoring others, at the whim of any given moment—and so grotesque a profession as lobbying (selling "influence") becomes a full-time job.

But privately he suspected that both the glass eyeball episode and the desecration of the BMW were connected to his lobbying business.

Some of Palmer's lobbying clients were tolerable in small doses, but Desie couldn't stand the politicians with whom her husband avidly fraternized.

To avoid the unappetizing prospect of competitive bidding, Lester/Lestorino had procured the lobbying services of Palmer Stoat, whose sway with Miami-Dade commissioners was well known.

And afterward they would all say it never would have come together except for the wizardly lobbying of Palmer Stoat.

His attention was broken by something poking him between his legs—the Labrador, lobbying for a handout.

Tia backed her brawn, and she was lobbying with CS and the Lab Schools to help.

There had been some lobbying to name its three small companions after Shavva, Liu, and Turnien, the original EEC landing party, but no decision had yet been made at the monthly naming sessions held around the evening campfire after the more formal official sittings of the council.

We’d been lobbying to displace positronics in Union Station since the proposal to go that way first came up.

Now, I understand as well as you that having positronics there was political, not practical, so our lobbying was directed at those people in government responsible for deciding such things.

Kennedy's lobbying, and his own machinations, had swung public opinion just enough.

The NRA, whose aim is to guarantee enough guns for every maniac in the country, has launched a new lobbying campaign to persuade Congress to repeal the machine-gun legislation.