📌In politics, lobbying is the lawful act of attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of government officials who are often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.
Lobbying usually involves direct, face-to-face contact and is done by many types of people and organized groups. These lobby groups include individuals in the private sector, often representing corporations. They can also consist of government officials or advocacy groups.
Professional lobbyists are people who make a living by trying to influence legislation, regulation, or other government decisions, actions, or policies on behalf of a group or individual who hires them. However, individuals and nonprofit organizations can also lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job. Lobbying does not necessarily yield financial benefits for lobbyists.
📌Lobbying is often misinterpreted as bribery, which it is not. Bribery involves the payment of something—either money or goods or an intangible favor—in the subversion of normal practices. On the other hand, lobbying is just an effort to influence it, though the distinction between the two is not so easily discernible. In the U.S., lobbying is legal, while bribery is not. The legality of lobbying stems from the Constitution and from our participatory democracy. That is, for the US government to succeed and protect the rights of its citizens the citizens must participate in making their voices heard. Lobbying is one way for citizens to influence government decisions and actions.
Nevertheless, lobbying is sometimes viewed in contempt, when the implication is that people with disproportionate socioeconomic power are using it as a tool to influence the law in order to serve their own interests. There is also a conflict of interests when elected officials serve only the interests of special groups rather than all of their constituents.
📌Lobbying is also often confused with influence peddling, which is the act of promising or giving a benefit or a payment to a person who has a real or potential influence on the decision-making of a public official. Influence peddling can be considered a form of bribery. Influence peddling typically occurs when the decision-making process is opaque, unethical behavior is widespread, and the political system acts in favor of select interests.
In order to prevent the traffic of influence, public and private establishments must increase the transparency of the decision-making process. Both the public and private sectors should have clear policies on how to prevent and avoid influence peddling. Citizens and the media must monitor them with due diligence.
•influence peddling 影響力操弄；權力叫賣
•special interest groups 特殊利益團體
•a conflict of interest 利益衝突；利害衝突
•the private sector 私營部門
•the public sector 公共部門
•advocacy groups 倡議團體
•shape the law 影響立法
•serve the interests 為利益服務
•a bloc of voters 投票者陣營
•electoral district 選區