Lobbyists Looking To Call Themselves Something Else: Here Are A Few Suggestions

from the suggest-your-own dept

Like many people, I have a somewhat negative visceral reaction to the concept of lobbyists and lobbying. However, my thinking has been shifting, in large part due to last year’s This American Life episode all about lobbying, where you begin to realize that lobbying is a symptom of a messed up campaign finance system, rather than “legalized bribery” as some believe. All too often, it appears, politicians are chasing down lobbyists, trying to get donations, rather than lobbyists “offering up” something. Besides, in theory, having people who can help educate clueless politicians about important issues could be a good thing — if those politicians are actually hearing from all sides on an issue and then making a decision based on the facts (I know, I know, stop laughing…). Of course, that’s not the system we have. At all.

And, because of that, many people blame the lobbyists, and, indeed, under today’s system, many lobbyists engage in highly questionable practices, because the potential returns are so high.

Given all of this, it appears that lobbyists are trying to “rebrand” themselves. Apparently the preferred name is “Government Relations.” Yes, it’s the perfect kind of whitewash of “lobbyist.” However, the NY Times has suggested “Congress Plus” as a more appropriate name:

We suggest “Congress Plus” as a more truthful name for an industry that employs more than 400 former members of the Senate and House, plus former Congressional staff members estimated in one study to total 5,400 people over a recent 10-year period. Not to mention untold dozens of lobbyists who smartly shift back and forth to Congressional committee posts as the electoral pendulum makes partisan swings that prove increasingly lucrative for experienced insiders.

So, what are some other suggestions for how lobbyists should rebrand? Here are a few suggestions, and we welcome more in the comments:

  • “Corporate Congress”
  • “Corporate Congressional Liaison”
  • “Special Interest Wrangler”
  • “Government Guide”
  • “Legislative Influencer”
  • “Regulatory Realignment Specialist”
  • “Senate Sherpa”
  • “Government Guru”
  • “Congressional Connector”
  • “Lawfluencers”

We await much better ideas in the comments.

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Comments on “Lobbyists Looking To Call Themselves Something Else: Here Are A Few Suggestions”

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90 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: how about

so you call on masnick to censor thing because you don’t like it, for him to abuse free speech, and censorship so you can get your own way..

Its just possible that Masnick stands up for free speech, and is against censorship.

I don’t have to like what you say, but I will die for your right to say it. Is it possible that Mr Masnick is of the same opinion?, or do you think free speech and censorship should be selectively applied simply to accommodate your biases ?

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:2 how about

“I don’t have to like what you say, but I will die for your right to say it.”

The line you have quoted refers to government censorship. This is a privately owned and operated website, and you have no legal or moral expectation of free speech. You and everyone else here are granted the privilege of commenting, and Mike can take steps to prevent you from commenting is he so wishes. Techdirt has an extremely high tolerance of purely trollish behaviour, but I have no problem at all with someone who contributes nothing of any worth (i.e. not even a dissenting opinion) being prevented from commenting.

horse with no name says:

Re: Re: Re:2 how about

“so you call on masnick to censor thing because you don’t like it, for him to abuse free speech, and censorship so you can get your own way.. “

I am only asking Mike to deal with off topic flaming trolls. “prenda fanboy” comments have little to do with the topic at hand, and are rather false on top of it. You can see that the entire discussion here has been uprooted by your trolling.

It’s sad that Techdirt chooses to ignore your very obvious actions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: how about

I see that you are calling on Masnick to block trollish comments that are off-topic or do not add to the discussion. Why do we not start with you? Certainly your attempts at disparaging those that post and comment on this site is of little to no value to the conversation. The rare few of your posts ever seem to approach anything that could be considered contributions.

Sheogorath (profile) says:

Here's an idea

I think it would be better to allow lobbyists to ask their favourite politicians for the legislation they want in return for a campaign donation, much as they already do, but instead of being able to donate directly, the funds go into a pool that’s shared out equally to all politicians running for office. That would give all politicians equal standing, no matter what their platforms.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Here's an idea

So, instead of a few ‘bent’ congress critters, they all get bent?

Better to remove money from politics, in each and every form. That would give equal standing.

I am not yet convinced that lobbyists are ‘good’ in any way. It interferes with the communication with the constituents, whom the representatives are supposed to represent. The concept of them being ‘consultative’ without being ‘manipulative’ seems like a contradiction of experience based upon, well, the last 60 or so years of my lifetime.

Zakida Paul (profile) says:

Re: Re: Here's an idea

“I am not yet convinced that lobbyists are ‘good’ in any way.”

Even the charities who bring their interests to government? They are lobbyists.

What about the people who start petitions for a cause and bring those to governments? They are lobbyists too.

There is more to lobbying than corporate lobbying and I really wish people would remember this.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Here's an idea

Apparently, the lobbyists themselves seem to think that what they do is morally questionable. Otherwise they wouldn’t be looking for a name change. The term lobbyist is not intrinsically derisive.

I think lobbyists who appeal to the merit of their cause, rather than by purchasing support are Special Interest Groups. Not sure, though.


As of this posting I have not received a US National Security Letter or any classified gag order from an agent of the United States
Encrypted with Morbius-Cochrane Perfect Steganographic Codec 1.2.001
Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:37:47 PM
lemon hymn turtle carpet bulb minute square college

Zakida Paul (profile) says:

Why is it that when people think of lobbying, they only think of corporate lobbying? Lobbying is not an inherent evil because it allows for all people/special interest groups to have a say in policy making. If lobbying were banned, what would happen to all the charities who interact with government every day? The activists who bring petitions to their representatives everyday?

Here in the UK we have a really bad piece of legislation on the go that has been suitably dubbed the ‘Gagging Bill’ that seeks to seriously limit the power of ordinary people to influence government.

Of course, corporate lobbying has got out of hand with companies spending eye watering amounts on lobbying efforts. This should be drastically curbed but NOT at the expense of the public and special interest groups.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Elected politicians are meant to represent the people that elect them. Lobbyists always represent some special interest group. Therefore with lobbying, the politicians listen to a representative of a group, some of whom claim to represent the people, but in all cases are only answerable to the people who fund them. The result is that special interest groups, including corporate lobbyists, have a disproportionate influence on the politicians and frequently drown out the voices of the electorate. This helps to alienate the electorate from politics, as it appears that the politicians are representing the lobbyists, not the electorate.

Anonymous Coward says:

– Exotic dancer, after all they all grab the pole and do the dance already.
– Law surveyors
– Law salesman
– Facelaw adimin.
– Law handyman.
– GoG – Government over growth.
– Boom, boom lawmaking, We all like parties right?
– Strange public agency growth. SPAG’s
– D&D G-Player. The G is not for gay/gal/girl/groupie is for government dude.
– Stripclub negotiator.
– Bench lawmaking, how do you call the people who get benched and still keep screaming what others need to do?
– Wamlaw.
– Law making clerks?
– Up & Down people.
– NIC – Non Interactive Character
– NPC – Non Playing Character.
– FAAP – Future A.A. Participant
– Marvin Gaye Lawmaking, There is no “donation” low enough.
– SAS – Shark Attack Session.
– Law raider
– Law rider
– Carousel operator.
– Merry Go Round VIP.
– Government Resources Analyst Personnel.
– Congress barnacle.
– Parasitic law making.
– BDSM – Bureaucratic Deep System Manager
– COG – Children of G.
– Law Dealer.
– Law Pimp.
– Law Pumper.

OMG I could spend the whole day doing this.

Anonymous Coward says:

More labels from someone who 'does not like labels'

But Mr Masnick, you recently said you were not “into” labels, you would rather look at the substance and facts..

But I guess when it’s the hatred for the US Government, you’ll just say ANYTHING !!

I am very sure, there would be a great number of ‘labels’ that could (accurately) directed towards you.
A least you’ve developed the art of writing a “FLAMEBAIT” piece.

I am sure your “insert label here” readers are really impressed !!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Skunkworker – work the skunks
Imageneer – dream laws up.
Weirdlawmaking – law making based on spooky behavior at a distance
Lobotomist – responsible for transforming laws into vegetables.
Wannabegov – poser trying to pass for lawmaker.
MOTS – Master of the skunks.
GC – Gloryhole clerk.
Cabbie – they all ride the government hard all year long.
Lawshisper
Govwhisper
Lawwasp – the sting is a bitch.

Rocco Maglio (profile) says:

A large number of lobbyist lobby the Obama Administration. The administration is responsible for the day to day running of the government. Many of the most contentious issues of today are being done through the admininstation the EPA (carbon tax), HHS (ACA implementation), etc. The names of lobbyist that were developed ignore this reality. Here are some names that reflect this reality.

Friend of Administration
Presidents Bag Men

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