September 20, 2017

On the Advantages of a Well-Constructed Lobbying System: Towards a More Democratic, Modern Lobbying Process

Vol 6 (3) 290 - 310
Lee Drutman

The American lobbying information processing system is woefully outdated. The mechanisms by which citizen, interest group, and business concerns are incorporated into the policymaking process have largely not been updated in over 200 years. Lobbyists set up meetings with staffers and members of Congress and share position papers with them about their arguments on a given policy issue. There is no central location where staffers can find out who is lobbying on a given bill and what they are arguing. In this paper, we make the case for a new information processing system that would provide Congress with a more efficient and effective way to manage the information flooding the Hill, and which would ensure more transparency about who is lobbying on any given bill and what they are saying. If used effectively by Congress, watchdog groups, and journalists, this system could result in better representation for a more diverse group of citizens.