As is often the case with any form of government, there are only so many resources to go around, especially in a country as large and diverse as the United States of America. Naturally, in a country where the government determines where and how its resources are divided amongst the many causes and interests of its people, there are various special interest groups and corporations that try to influence the government in its decision-making. This process is known as lobbying, and for better or worse, it plays a major role in American politics.
Controversial in nature, lobbying is typically carried out by well-connected advocates, lawyers, or ex-government officials, who are paid to use their influence with politicians and other public officials to sway political favor one way or another. The connections these lobbyists have with said bureaucrats is often of a very personal nature, and in some cases these relationships span the course of several years or decades, if not their entire life.
The act of lobbying is interpreted by the nation’s courts as “free speech,” and is therefor protected by its constitution, though there are a number of laws in place that allow for severe penalties given that these laws are broken.
Lobbying dates back to a time before the United States was founded and its fourth president, James Madison, defined special interest groups as, “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” With this in mind, there is nothing inherently wrong with lobbying in itself as any number of American citizens can attempt to influence their government, but due to the nature of commerce and the hearts of men, lobbying has become a billion dollar industry for those who would seek to impact American politics for the good of their business.
In some cases these special interest groups have righteous purposes and aims, but morally justifiable actions often fail to accrue the same measure of financial backing that some corporations are willing to offer lobbyists to support their particular causes. For this reason, lobbying has given rise to public disagreement throughout the years.
For many Americans, lobbying is viewed as the foremost issue with the United States government and many have sought to curb the influence of the private sector, hence a myriad of laws that define what is acceptable and legal.
However, due to the personal relationships lobbyists have with some politicians, it could be speculated that a considerable amount of “lobbying” happens behind closed doors far from public view. With the negative connotations lobbying has been given by the general public, it could be hard for one to see it as anything pleasant or tolerable. However, lobbying can be just as productive as it is detrimental, thanks to the constitution of the United States of America. With it, its people can support a number of causes, though those causes may or may not truly be for the good of the nation.