In a modern democratic society there are many different voluntary associations of people (interest groups) seeking to bring their requirements and demands to the authorities. Some of them use economic means of influence, others use discreet ways and act in the corridors of power which promote the adoption by authorities of various solutions using formal and informal relationships in government.
The most common form of influence made by these organizations on governmental authorities is called lobbying. Sometimes it is associated with corruption and illegal methods of influence on decision-making process by government bodies. As a rule, lobbyists act as intermediaries in different kinds of transactions between interest groups and politicians, including legislators and members of the government, thereby making significant influence on the formation of political course of the country.
Lobbying is important for various spheres of society. At the same time it has both positive, and negative effects. Among the advantages we may find the fact that lobbyism is a tool of interaction between representative and executive bodies. It can be seen as a way of mutual balancing and reconciliation between a variety of interests. Lobby groups, defending sometimes diametrically opposed interests, help to preserve the balance of different groups and reach consensus in decision-making process. Also, it creates opportunities for minority interests, therefore acting as a specific form of manifestation of political pluralism.
Concerning the disadvantages of lobbyism, it can significantly affect stability and operation of public policy. Some measures can appear under certain conditions in the form of social injustice manifestation. On the one hand, it promotes the “improvement” of society due to constant accommodation of interests between the state and civil society respectively, and on the other hand, it could lead to formation of a criminal state, defending narrow group interests and shaking the stability of society. Lobbying in the media, which, due to its powerful influence on the minds and behavior of people in politics, is called as “fourth branch of government.” Lobbying in the West and in the United States of America is rather a prestigious type of activity, some people call it as “fifth branch of government”.
In different countries, lobby procedure is regulated differently. Concerning the model that exists in the United States of America, back in 1946, America had a special law (Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act), which guarantees the right of citizens to apply to the authorities with complaints. Under this law, lobbyists are required to register with the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House of Representatives, notifying their area of ??interest. Lobbyists must also provide a written statement with the following data: name and address of their establishment; name and address of the employer; terms of employment; amount of remuneration paid to them. By the way, the law does not limit the amount of money spent on lobbying, but it is prohibited to use federal funds. In addition, lobbyists provide the relevant bodies with their financial report four times a year.
Lobbying is a mediator between the society and the state, attracting the attention of authorities to the urgent social and political problems.
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