1. Lobbyist-Client Relationships

a) In connection with lobbyists, client (s) should investigate and evaluate their ethical history in the practice of lobbying. A client should not knowingly contract with a lobbyist or firm they discover to have acted unethically, without first frankly discussing this history with the lobbyists and evaluating their response.

b) In contracting with a client, lobbyist should investigate and evaluate their ethical history as it relates to lobbying. A lobbying should not knowingly contract with a client they discover to have acted unethically, without first frankly discussing this history with the client and evaluating their response.

c) The lobbyist should inform the client or employer about lobbying strategies and give them the opportunity, whenever appropriate, to choose between various lobbying options and strategies.

d) The lobbyist should inform clients whether the ends they seek or the means they propose are ethically questionable.

e) The lobbyist has a responsibility to give feedback to the client concerning the potentially harmful impact of their lobbying objectives, strategies and tactics. This guideline applies not only to the client's objectives and public reputation, but also to the probable effect of their lobbying means and ends on the common ggod.

f) Confidentiality: A lobbyist should maintain appropriate confidentiality of client or employer information.

i) A lobbyist needs to balance this responsibility with the concurrent obligation to inform the client of the name of all other lobbying clients the lobbyist or lobbyist's firm represents and answer any reasonable questions raised by a client or potential client regarding conflicting issues.

ii) How does one balance the duty to keep a client's secrets with the duty to disclose that client's identity to other potential clients?

iii) Does the public have a right to know who is advocating what in the formation of publmic policy, for example, should they know the identity of the client who is financing the lobbying campaign and their specific lobbying efforts?

g) The lobbyist should not disclose confidential information without the client's or employer's informed consent.

i) Is this principle absolute? Should a lobbyist go to jail to keep this information secret (as a reporter might do with 'confidential sources')?

ii) When does the public's need to know outweigh the need for confidentiality?

iii) Should there be public transparency about the identity of the parties who are advocating a particular policy?

2. Lobbyist and Policy Maker Relationships

a) A lobbyist should seek to provide factually correct, current, and accurate information. A lobbyist should not intentionally mislead or misinform any other party.

i) But do lobbyists have to provide all the information they have ? At what point does omission become misleading? How is the lobbyist to judge?

ii) On the other hand, the lobbyist has an obligation to the client. Why should the lobbyist do the work of the client's ideological and political opponents by stating the merits of their case.

b) If a material change in factual information that the lobbyist provided previously to a public official causes the information to become inaccurate and the lobbyist knows the public official may still be relying upon the information, the lobbyist should provide accurate and updated information to the public official.

i) How long does this obligation last? Months? Years?

ii) What if the lobbyist is no longer employed by the original client?

iii) Is the lobbyist primarily a source of accurate information for public officials, or an advocate for a private client?

iv) What role should the concern for justice and the common good play in the lobbyist's conduct?

c) In advocating a public policy position with policymakers, lobbbyists have a wide range of methods, from simply gaining access, through gathering and providing information, to attempting to influence on a specific vote, to gathering a whole repertory of 'ammunition' when high pressure (there will be serious consequences if the vote doesn't go our way) seems to be the only means that will work.

i) How does the lobbyist determine the ethical propriety of the means used?

ii) What ethical criteria should be used  beyond sheer pragmatism about what will get the job done?

iii) Does the lobbyist ever turn to ethical advisors or resources in making such decisions?

iv) Where can one find such resources when needed?

3) Lobbyists and Shapers of Public Opinion

Indirect lobbying is often accomplished by influencing members of the media and other shapers of public opinion. In lobbying elected officials as well as the public at large through such indirect agents, lobbyists should respect journalaists' obligations to:

a) Seek the truth and report it. They should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information which affects public policy.

b) Minimize harm, treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

c) Act independently, be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

d) be accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

4) Conflicts of Interest

a) A lobbyist should not continue or undertake representations that may create conflicts of interest without the informed consent of the client or potential client involved.

i) What criteria should one use to decide when a 'conflict of interest' has arisen? How lax or strict should they be? Are there objective criteria for identyifying and resolving conflicts of interest?

b) A lobbyist should avoid advocating a position on an issue if the lobbyist is also representing another client on the same issue with a conflicting position.

i) If a conflict arises, how does the lobbyist decide which client to keep? The one who pays you more? The one you've worked for the longest? The one whose values are closest to your own? Is there some unwritten duty here?

ii) What if a lobbyist represents other parties with the same position on the same issue? Should all of the parties you represent on a position know the existence and identity of others whom you also represent on that issue and position?

c) The lobbyist should also determine whether conflicts might arise due to his or her personal beliefs, relationships or interests.

i) To what extent can (or should) you lobby against your own conscience against your personal and political beliefs?

ii) How do you argue for a position in which you don't believe? Can you do this effectively as when you lobby for positions in accord with your beliefs?

5) Full Disclosure

a) 'Truth in advertising' of the lobbyist's experience, political skills, and probable access in lobbying for a particular policy is important. If a lobbyist or firm lacks adequate resources or the relevant political contacts to represent a client effectively on a particular manner, the lobbyist should inform the client or prospective client.

b) In the interest of the full disclosure and the public trust, the lobbyist should clearly identify all the interests being represented in the attempt to influence policy.

i) If a client refuses to be disclosed as the source of a lobbying campaign, should the lobbyist refuse to represent the client?

ii) How does it serve the public interest for a lobbyist to claim confidentiality about the identity of 1) Clients? 2) The actual techniques used in lobbying? 3) Special relationships with powerbrokers? 4) Recruiting of powerful third parties 'insider' allies?

c) It is wrong to leave the policy maker and the public at large in the dark about who is actually promoting a particular policy.

6. Some specific lobbying strategies and tactics

a) All citizens have a right to equal representation.

i) Do the personal contacts of lobbyists with powerbrokers detract from this right?

ii) If a paid lobbyist has special access to those who make policy decisions, how does this serve the common good?

iii) Even though a lobbyist may have earned access to a policy maker, should the lobbyist expect to receive favors beyond such access in advancing a policy decision?

b) The lobbyist should advance the broadest expression of views in order to refine and enlarge the deliberative process.

i) Should the lobbyist acknowledge and even inform the policy maker about the alternative views on the disputed issue?

c) The lobbyist should advocate on the merits of the case rather than on insider knowledge or irrelevant considerations with minimal bearing on the issue at hand.

i) Is it ethical for a lobbyist to use insider knowldege, such as privileged information not available to others about the issues?

ii) Is it ethical for a lobbyist to circulate irrelevant negative rumours intended to damage the credibility of rivals or public officials (For example, rumors abou their private affairs).

d) It is wrong for a lobbyist to design a clever 'distractor' campaign which diverts attention from the actual impact of the policy advocated by focusing on irrelevant or 'phantom issues intended to frighten or divert the public's attention from the true issues involved.

c) The quality of public debate on a policy dispute is more important than the quantity of pressures used to influence policy makers.

i) Is it ethical to base a lobbying campaign on the sheer number of letters or calls received by the public official ( kind of 'saturation advocacy) rather than substantive arguments.

ii) How does this tactic contribute to the knowldege of the decision makers and the wisdom of their decision?

iii) Is it ethical to develop ad hoc 'advocacy groups' with trumped up 'memberships' as 'window dressing' for a lobbying effort without revealing the identity and financing of less respected groups who are actually driving the campaign?

iv) Is it wrong to devise media campaigns which attemp to exclude, ridicule, or silence competing points of view?

v) If a client has a negative public image, is it ethical to recruit more 'respectable' allies to support the policy objectives without revealing to them who teh client is, or  revealing them to the client?

vi) Are lobbying techniques, such as the 'generation' of public opinion and the technological stimulation of 'grass roots' (Astroturf) advocacy in targeted areas consistent with democratic principles and the right of all citizens to equal representation?

vii) Is it ethical to develop 'front groups' with attractive names to create the appearance of greater support for a contested issue? Should not full disclosure be required of who is supporting such groups?

7) The Integrity of the Profession 

a) It is important for lobbyists to be actively concerned not only about ethical conduct, but also about their popular image and reputation as well as public confidence in the legitimacy of what they do.

i) Do lobbyists need a lore effective and enforceable ethical code in order to foster genuine professionalism, protect those who observe ethical standarsd and restore confidence in the democratic process?

ii) Are such ethical codes sufficient?

iii) How can they be effectively enforced?

iv) What additional protections are needed?

v) Are the current legal restrictions on lobbying (for example, on disclosure, gifts etc.) sufficient? Do they need to be strengthened?

vi) Do these legal restrictions ignore or avoid some of the more important ethical issues? If so, which important ethical issues are not covered by current law?

vii) To what extent does self-policing actually occur in the lobbying profession?

viii) How do most professional lobbyists see themselves: (1) as hired guns? (2) as advocates for interest groups?, or as responsible citizens with an important role to play in democratic self-government? (4) How ought they see themselves?

b) The lobbyist has responsibility to inform and educate the client and the policy maker, beyond simply re-enforcing their current views. The lobbyist has a moral responsibility to inform clients and public officials about unjust or unethical consequences of a policy position being advocated.

i) What should the lobbyist say about the probable impact of public policy decision on the well-being of the nation at large?

c) Lobbyists should tell their clients of all actions taken, coalitions formed, contacts pursued in their name, as well as similar advocacy done for other clients on the same issue.

i) What should a lobbyist do who has several clients who have congruent objectives?

d) It is wrong for lobbyists on retainer to claim accomplishments to which they did not contribute or to which their contribution was minimal.

8) Lobbying and the Common Good

a) A genuine commitment to the common good by clients, lobbyists and public officials is essential if the integrity of democracy is to be preseved /restored.

i) Is the practice of lobbying so important to the exercise of democracy that, on balance, we should tolerate the lapses of individuals because of the many benefits the present system provides?

ii) Has the conduct of lobbying today actually eroded public confidence in the integrity of the democratic process?

b) In addition to arguing for special or limited interests advocated, lobbyists should also weigh the implication of their efforts for the public common good.

i) What is the lobbyist's responsibility for those who may be harmed by a proposed policy?

ii) Should the view of those who may be harmed also be effectively represented in the decision making process?

iii) How should this be done?

iv) If the lobbyist concludes that the policy objectives being pursued will seriously harm the public good, is he or she obliged to inform the client and the policy maker about these concerns?

v) After the lobbyist informs the client of these ethical concerns, and the client refuses to modify the policy objectives, should the lobbyist withdraw from the original contract?

vi) Does the lobbyist have an affirmative duty to present all relevant information to the client and policy maker concerning the probable consequences of the policy being pursued?

vii) Do teh lobbyists' legal and moral commitment to their clients override their civic obligation to advance the common good?

viii) Should policy makers actively seek information and opinion from multiple sources, especially those who have no effective public voice?

ix) Are social and political justice likely to emerge from a process that only weighs the competing arguments of organized interest groups?

x) Should policy makers allow preferential access to those who have 'earned' this privilege through campaign contributions?

xi) How should the question of access to public officials and influence on public decision be ethically resolved?

c) Lobbying and the Health of Democracy

i) What are the actual and perceived effects of lobbying on the state of democarcy?

ii) Does lobbying have a positive or negative effect on (1) the accountability of public officials, (2) the confidence of people in their government, (3) the willingness of citizens to participate actively in public affairs, (4) the fidelity of the young to their civic obligations, and their attraction to or aversion from public life.

d) There are also a broad set of justice issues (political, economic and social) that the existing practice of lobbying raises.

i) Have we destroyed the appropriate balance between corporate power and public power, between the influence of organized interests and that of public spirited citizens? Many of the most informed political commentators believe this balance no longer exists. They believe that the system impact of lobbying has eroded popular participation in and respect for politics. What do you think?

ii) How can the decline of confidence in both the electoral and governing process be reversed?

iii) What are the civic obligations of the citizens themselves? Do they have a moral/civic responsibility to: (1) Express their opinions and participate actively in the political process?, (2) Evaluate public policies and the tactics used in achieving them?, (3) Advocacy for those who have no vote, no organized form of political influence? 

iv) Is there a clearly ordered priority among the lobbyist's several obligations as: (1) A human being with a set of ethical values and beliefs, (2) A democratic citizen, (3) A lobbyist for an organized interest or corporate client?

e) Does lobbying in your country pass the test of justice? It is important to examine the actual public consequences the present way of lobbying influences the reaching political decisions.

i) Who benefits from the existing arrangements?

ii) Who is neglected or ignored?

iii) Who is actively harmed?



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