This is the second post on Alan Rosenthal's The Third
House: Lobbyists and Lobbying in the States
1993). This post focuses on the importance of connections over influence, the
role of money and constituents in local lobbying, and local
lobbyists as relatively unprofessional, and what that means for lobbying regulation.
Because there are fewer professional lobbyists at the local level,
the contract lobbyists who are successful locally sometimes become
power brokers. These individuals can best represent their clients by
being in a position to pull a lot of strings. They can get into this
position through their involvement in the majority political party,
through the services they provide to officials, through their
involvement in and financial support (directly and through clients)
of political campaigns, and through the personal relationships they
Rosenthal notes that the professionalization of lobbying has made
full-time lobbyists more open to regulation, because they want to be
seen as professional. They also know that it is better for them to have clear lines
drawn so that they don't find themselves embroiled in scandals.
In addition, limitations on giving save them money.
Local lobbyists are less likely to
be full-time or have a professional identity. Therefore, they are
less likely to support lobbying regulations than their state and
federal equivalents. This is clearly one reason why there are so few
local lobbying codes, and why those that exist do not appear to have
been very professionally drafted (that is, their drafters do not
seem to have looked at the better local lobbying codes).