Posts tagged ‘lobbying’


What if you could bet on Wednesday’s NBA game between Golden State and Oklahoma City, and before the game or at least before the final buzzer, you could lobby the referees and the league to change the rules? Maybe you would bet on Oklahoma City and then lobby to abolish the three-point shot.

Hedge funds and other investment firms are playing that very game in Washington, D.C., these days. Recently, Capitol Hill has seen a blitz of lobbying on how Puerto Rico should handle its debt amid fiscal disaster, and how Treasury should deal with private investors in bailed out government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Behind the barrage of lobbying, op-eds and public relations is a handful of hedge funds who have gambled one way or another on GSE stock or Puerto Rican debt, in the hope that they could pull enough strings in Washington to make big bucks.

. . .

Investors allocating capital according to which policy tweaks they think they can win doesn’t sound like the type of capitalism that maximizes economic efficiency. It’s just public-policy profiteering.

As government gets involved in more parts of the economy, hedge funds will increasingly engage in this public-policy profiteering. This will make lobbying on these arcane issues more common and more intense.

So maybe it’s a good time to be long on K Street.

Puerto Rico’s debt, Fannie Mae’s stock, and public-policy profiteering


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The Life Cycle of Lobbying

There is a distinctive life cycle in lobbying. The moment a bill is introduced, interest groups that track that issue will begin lobbying the legislation related to it. Often, reporters monitor congressional committee consideration quite closely and will pose questions to members of Congress regarding their position on that legislation. As increased public awareness is directed to the measure as a result of the media and interest groups, constituents learn more about the legislation and will then ask their own members of Congress to identify their position.

2010 Cross Nats Bend
Creative Commons License photo credit: lmpicard

Most members of Congress have decided their position on a piece of legislation by the time a bill moves to the floor. As a result, communications must be made as early as possible within the legislative process. The astute lobbyist begins the communications process before a member formulates their position on a bill.

You will have far more influence shaping member votes when you concentrate your efforts early in the legislative cycle. However, even when you are able to achieve victories early on this is not an indication that you can stop working. Lobbying, press and constituent pressures intensify immediately before a vote and can result in significant changes in position as well as the degree of support offered to legislation.

Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna GelakThe first stage of the lobbying life cycle involves planning and strategy. This includes surveys, research and analysis of issues. The second stage involves education and advocacy, including testimony, letters to Capitol Hill, personal visits, advertisements, emails and mobilizing grassroots efforts. During the third stage, you work on issue maintenance. At this stage you track developments in states as well as courts, while keeping an eye on public opinion.

The all important vote will occur during this final stage. During this stage, you focus on determining the next step. This can include whether the measure will move to the other chamber, joint House-Senate Conference Committee, Presidential consideration, implementation, etc.

To learn more about the lobbying and advocacy process, consider TheCapitol.Net’s 1-day course, Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill and their 3-day Capitol Hill Workshop.

Reference: Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak, Section 4.36 The Principle of Early Intervention: the Life Cycle of Lobbying

For more information about working with Congress, see these resources from TheCapitol.Net:

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Code of Ethics for Lobbyists

Lobbyists should be familiar with the code of ethics adopted by the American League of Lobbyists (ALL), which provides basic guidelines and standards for the conduct of lobbyists.

Herbern Electric Code Machine 1918
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ryan Somma

Honesty and Integrity
Lobbyists should always be truthful in their communications with public officials and with all other interested parties.

Compliance with Laws, Regulations and Rules
Lobbyists should always make certain they are familiar with and comply with all laws, regulations and rules that apply to them.

Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna GelakLobbyists must conduct their lobbying activities in a manner that is fair and professional.

Conflicts of Interest
Lobbyists should not undertake any representations that may establish conflicts of interest without the informed consent of the client that is involved.

Due Diligence and Best Efforts
Lobbyists should always diligently and vigorously advocate for the interests of their clients.

Compensation and Engagement Terms
Independent lobbyists who are retained by clients should always have a written agreement with the client regarding the terms and conditions for their services.

Lobbyists should always maintain appropriate levels of confidentiality of all employer and/or client information.

Public Education
Lobbyists should seek to ensure the public has a better understanding and appreciation of lobbying within the governmental process.

Duty to Governmental Institutions
Along with fulfilling their duties and responsibilities to their employer or client, lobbyists should always ensure they exhibit only the most proper respect for all governmental institutions.

The ALL Code of Ethics has been designed to ensure that lobbying is undertaken in the most proper and appropriate manner possible. It is important that government officials be able to receive information from affected interests that is factual and be aware of the views of those parties in order to make policy judgments that are well informed. The Code of Ethics works toward preserving and advancing public trust and confidence in democratic institutions and the public policy advocacy process. Professional lobbyists should recognize that they have a strong obligation to conduct themselves in the highest moral and ethical manner possible in all of their dealings with public officials and all other parties. While the Code of Ethics is only intended to apply to independent lobbyists, all lobbyists should seek to practice the highest ethical conduct possible in their lobbying efforts.

To learn more about working with Congress, consider Strategies for Working with Congress and our Capitol Hill Workshop.

Reference: Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak, Appendix 6: Lobbyists’ Code of Ethics.

For more information about effective advocacy in Washington, see these resources from TheCapitol.Net

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