Make it Public - The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 19


The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, and its purpose is to enlighten the American people about the mechanisms by which lobbyists operate. The act defines a lobbyist as any employee that makes more than one lobbying contact and spends, at a minimum, twenty percent of their time lobbying on behalf of the company or organization. Furthermore, the lobbyist must spend at least $22,500.00 on lobbying expenses during the six month reporting period. Lobbyists and lobbying companies must report their activities during the stated six month period. Any lobbyist that operates on their own, or not as part of a company, must register their activities on an individual basis.

Any related activity to the lobbying contract is considered lobbying; this includes planning, research, and coordination with other groups or individuals involved in the lobby of any government official. The matters of federal or state legislation, administration of a policy or program, and the nomination or confirmation of an appointed official of the state in verbal or written forms is considered a lobbying activity and falls under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 . These policies for lobbying have made public, the behind the scenes dealings of Washington and state governments, which helps the general public realize what policies are being passed and for what reasons.

The amounts of money involved with the lobbying process are now made public, which has created an uproar in the public sector, realizing the amounts of money being spent both in research and execution of lobbying activities. The public has access to all of the documentation from the Secretary of the Senate registrations via a public records database. This database contains the names of lobbyists, lobbying companies and the individuals lobbied in the government . The nature of past lobbying has been exposed, which entailed favors, nominations and large sums of money that have created a one-sided law making process. The public, now being fully aware, is angered that the interests of the public have not been upheld by the lobbyists, and instead the interests of big business has been promoted throughout the legislative process.

With this legislation, people search and access information on the proposed lobbying activities of groups and individuals acting for the interest of any group or company. Every possible scenario of the lobbying activities must be spelled out in no uncertain terms. This allows the public to contact their representatives in congress and express their opinion of the matter, whether it is about the topic, interest group, or the proposed monetary gains or losses that may ensue with the adoption of the lobbyist's plan or influence over legislation. The registration process also requires that any foreign entity that contributes to the lobbyist, in any way, needs to be disclosed for the sake of domestic security and influence.

Influence from foreign companies and governments is not a desired practice for many Americans and has led to policies being made that strengthen foreign countries over the US. Many public groups had been fighting this, and still are, prior to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 . Since the act was signed into law, a great many lobbying activities are now being carefully watched by organizations and individuals concerned with the public welfare. The American people can now take part and stop or guide the lobbying process to be a more effective and transparent activity of the government and interest groups.