Lobbying is a protected activity under the U.S. Constitution that guarantees rights to free speech, assembly, and petition to government. Lobbying is a regulated industry.
Lobbyists are typically very knowledgeable about the legislative process and know who the decision makers are relative to congressional staff and Members of Congress. Lobbyists assist in the preparation and presentation of information, arrange testimony for congressional hearings, and arrange and attend face-to-face meetings with congressional staff and/or Members of Congress or agency officials. The goal is a positive impact on decision makers so as to affect the process in Washington, D.C..
In many cases, lobbyists serve as an "extension" of a congressional office staff. Given the hundreds of bills and amendments introduced during each legislative session, it's impossible for legislators to gauge the potential effects that each may have on affected groups or individuals. Lobbyists assist staff by communicating often complicated issues and by knowing how to break an issue down into relatively small and simple parts. The goal is to simplify the learning process of the Member and/or congressional staff person, yet provide them with accurate and timely information. In this regard, lobbyists perform a valuable service not only to their client but to the staff and Members of Congress as well.
A lobbyist's success is based totally on his or her reputation and credibility. Giving bad advice or incorrect information to Congress is quickly noted and long remembered. In the lobby world, you are given only one chance to make a mistake and lose the credibility that's necessary for success.
How can a lobbyist help you? By way of example, a congressman represents some 500,000 people, the interests of dozens of towns and cities, several counties, and hundreds of businesses. If you want to do everything possible to make sure your needs are known by that Member of Congress, you need a Washington office and staff that advances your needs. A lobbyist works to make sure your needs stay high on the agenda and makes sure others don't get a competitive advantage. Not having Washington representation can leave a client at a serious disadvantage. Time constraints, the work load within a congressional office, the work of competitors, and the complexity of issues make the services of a lobbyist an absolute necessity.
Occasionally, a client submits grant applications to federal agencies. Letters of support from Members of Congress can help make sure the application receives proper attention. Lobbyists often draft letters of support and take them to the Member or staff and ask them to send such a letter to the respective agency. Because congressional offices experience significant demands on their time, the more outside help they can get, the better the chance you will get the response you need. Assistance in support letter preparation is only one example.
Clients may seek a direct federal appropriation to fund a specific need. Lobbyists often assist the congressional offices with information that must be submitted to the appropriate congressional committee or federal agency for funding approval.
Having your own office in Washington allows congressional staff the ability to contact locally available experience when they need help. Lobbyists do the "leg work" that often cannot be done by Congressional staff because of time constraints. Lobbyists help formulate strategy and provide follow-up. Lobbyists attend hearings and meetings and keep the Members and staff informed about developments. Lobbyists help create grassroots support. Lobbyists meet with other advocates and organizations that are active on Capitol Hill and work together to advance good legislation or alter bad legislation.
Experienced and successful lobbyists thoroughly understand the legislative process; they have the ability to strategically plan and ensure close follow-up that is of significant value to a client. The Washington process is not getting easier and competition has increased significantly in recent years. Time constraints are making it more and more difficult for congressional offices to follow issues on a timely basis. In addition, opportunities and challenges often occur with a minimum of time to respond. Ongoing, active representation in Washington is critical to effectively responding to these situations. The client that can help a congressional office respond quickly and properly work an issue can benefit both from more complete attention to an issue and stronger relationships with the involved congressional offices. A lobby firm, like Meyers & Associates, that can work on a bipartisan basis can often make the critical linkages that are required for success.
A successful lobby firm has the experience necessary to fully understand the legislative and regulatory processes so as to affect those processes to the benefit of a client. For over 30 years, Meyers & Associates has successfully provided this service to its friends and clients.
© 1996 - 2015 Meyers & Associates Inc. All Rights Reserved
Lobbyists & Lobbying - Why Hire a Lobbyist
"Lobbyists are in many cases expert technicians capable of examining complex and difficult subjects in clear, understandable fashion. They engage in personal discussion with members of Congress in which they explain in detail the reasons for the positions they advocate...Because our congressional representation is based upon geographical boundaries, the lobbyists who speak for the various economic, commercial and other functional interests of the country serve a useful purpose and have assumed an important role in the legislative process." - Senator John F. Kennedy, 1956