Lobbyists Pretend Not To Be Lobbyists

Lobbyists Pretend Not To Be Lobbyists

K Street NW street sign with DC flag and "EVACUATION ROUTE" markings, at the northwest corner of Farragut Square. 12 February 2011. By Ben Schumin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
K Street NW street sign with DC flag and “EVACUATION ROUTE” markings, at the northwest corner of Farragut Square. 12 February 2011. By Ben Schumin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

(Almost) Nobody loves a lobbyist.

Corporate lobbyists, who cluster around K Street in Washington, D.C. are approximately as popular as the bubonic plague among Americans. That is, except for the miniscule minority of people who send them to Washington to buy off politicians with potential campaign contributions.

Ok, that might be a little polemic, but you get the picture. In 2011, a Gallup poll found that seven in ten Americans thought that lobbyists had too much influence.

Yes, lobbyists as a group have a huge popularity deficit. And the profession has taken notice of that.

Just put a new label on it, and we’re good to go!

Case in point: In what can only be called a clever public relations maneuver, the umbrella organization of lobbyists in the US is changing its name due to the unpopular image of the profession, as Politico reports.

The American League of Lobbyists will vote to adopt a new name, the Association of Government Relations Professionals.

‘Government relations professionals’ sounds less like ‘lobbyists,’ at least it does not contain the word ‘lobbyist.’ But the general business of this group of professionals in Washington will hardly change because it has a brand new shiny label attached to it.

Will people fall for it? That remains to be seen. But it is quite obvious that after Citizens United (2010) and with the upcoming McCutcheon Supreme Court case on the horizon, corporations and wealthy individuals are working harder than ever to subvert American democracy by funding (re-)election campaigns or sponsoring primary challengers to politicians not working (enough) in their favor.

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