A lobby is an organized structure to represent and defend the interests of a particular group by exerting pressures or influences on people or institutions holders of power (it is also known as interest group, pressure group, or influence group). To do this, it performs an activity, lobbying, which is “to carry out interventions to directly or indirectly influence the development, application, or interpretation of legislation, standards, regulations, and more generally, any intervention in government decision.” Thus, the role of a lobby is “to influence a standard, to create a new or delete existing provisions.”
Lobbying is a part of the plea that relates specifically to advocacy to influence legislation.
Students preparing their research paper on lobbying should know that there is usually the distinction between on the one hand the economic actors (professional lobbies): industrial or financial groups, multinational undertakings, or organized sectors, professional organizations, unions, federations, etc., and secondly the non-governmental organizations and associations when they are organized to canvass regularly elected “citizens lobbies” or “non-profit groups.”
The first category of lobbies is not as popular as the second. This classification, derived from the Anglo-Saxon research, has become the face of a European research provided very little in terms of interest groups. It is the subject of a debate in Europe when it comes to associations that defend causes that have to be within the public interest. It is challenged, for example, by the network of associations Supervision and transparency of lobbying activities, the Citizen Science Foundation, as well as by elected and expert commentators.
Each lobby has tools of influence (also known as “think tanks,” lobbyists and lobbying firms or consult groups, lawyers, associations and foundations, etc.).
Governments or local authorities can also organize lobbies or use lobbying firms to promote their views and interests with other political authorities, elected officials, and institutions (e.g., the Regional Councils, countries members of the United Nations or the International Monetary Fund).
The origin of the word lobby literally means “hall” or “corridor.” The first political uses of the term dating from the XIXth century. From 1830, the term “lobby” meant the corridors of the House of Commons where members of British pressure groups could come and talk with the “MPs” (Members of Parliament). Similarly, during the Civil War, General Grant, after the burning of the White House, stayed in the Willard Hotel, where the ground floor (lobby) was invaded by interest groups. Today, the White House, this room is available to such groups.
The word lobby is now used in Europe to describe the interest groups themselves. These groups are also involved in close relation to the media to influence journalists in the research community to influence researchers and influence the public authorities by various means in order to make their demands to be heard.
From a traditional point of view, it is preferable to refer lobbies “influence groups,” “interest groups,” or “pressure groups,” but the concept of “lobbies” implies that the interest group organizes its representation though policy makers. It also requires financial means to employ the services of lobbying firms or establish internal lobbying services, as do industrial firms and business coalitions.
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