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Should Congress Place Restrictions on Lobbying?

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Background

Many controversial topics have surfaced recently, but one that tends to fly under the radar is lobbying. Lobbying is defined as a group of persons who work or conduct a campaign to influence members of a legislature to vote according to a group’s special interests (“Lobby”). Although average citizens are not fully aware of the issue, it is quite contentious in politics. For those who are against it, they believe that restrictions should be placed on lobbying because it distorts democracy. Lobbyists use money and cost-effective strategies to sway the opinions of lawmakers. Others see lobbyists as effective, political tour guides who help pass legislation. An analysis of the lobbying process reveals the outcomes are often times ethical, but chiefly controversial. This leaves us with a heated debate; should Congress tighten their restrictions on lobbying?
Lobbying didn’t become popular until the twentieth century. James Madison discussed the earliest form of this practice in the Federalist Papers. This was a part of the Constitution that was crafted in order to cater to special interests. In the Federalist No. 10, Madison refers to these specialized groups with similar interests as factions. Factions soon became the stepping-stone for lobbyists (American Government A21). Today, lobbying is seen as a vital, constitutionally protected job of petitioning government and educating lawmakers (SIRS Issue Researchers). With this occupation growing within the political industry, the economic side of lobbying is scaring both lawmakers and political aficionados alike. Some say it is simply buying influence and access, while others argue it is bribery.
Lobbyists have clients, or people who inquire for assistance from lobbying fir...

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