Lifting the Lid on Lobbying: taking secrecy out of politics in Europe

Lifting the Lid on Lobbying: taking secrecy out of politics in Europe

This project is part of a large scale mapping of the regulation and supervision of lobbying across a selected number of EU member states, including Portugal. The analysis takes a policy-oriented perspective on lobbying, focusing both on the rules and deontological guidelines as well as the experiences of self-regulation by lobbyists. Lobbying, the oral or written communication with a public official to influence legislation, policy or administrative decisions, is widely perceived as a form of corruption due to its opaque and often poorly regulated nature. Lobbying is key to any complex decision-making and administrative process. Parliaments, governments and even regulators need lobbying for the simple reason that they cannot handle with the same degree of expertise all policy domains.  Lobbying is not bad per se, but it is the way it is carried out that is at stake. Some lobbying, linked to multiple client agencies is opaque and may place MPs, Ministers, cabinet staff and regulators under a sort of corrupt contractual obligation which hinders their independence, impartiality and integrity, hence the need for regulation.


The project looks into the disproportionate and undue access to the legislative, regulatory and executive processes by lobbyists and the lack of transparency and public scrutiny of lobbying activities. It takes a holistic approach to the regulation and supervision of lobbying, by looking at the pluralist and multi-level nature of decision-making, multiple players (in some countries you will not find lobbying firms as such, but law or consulting firms), different venues for influence peddling (parliament, ministerial cabinets, regulators), etc. Any lobbying regulation needs to be articulated with various pieces of legislation. Adopting a register is just one amongst several measures to be discussed in the scope of this research. The project foresees data collection and treatment on lobbying practices across different levels of decision-making and focusing on three levels of intervention:

  • Recipients (MPs, Ministers, Members of Cabinet, Regulators, Mayors, Councillors, etc);
  • Intermediaries (multi-client law firms, lobbying companies);
  • Clients (people contracting lobbying services: companies, individual businessmen, etc).

The aim is to develop a handbook of best practices and advocate for the adoption of lobbying regulation and the establishment of effective supervisory mechanisms.

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
Yes
Entidades: 
TI-S
Keywords: 

Lobbying, Interest groups, Transparency, Corruption

This project is part of a large scale mapping of the regulation and supervision of lobbying across a selected number of EU member states, including Portugal. The analysis takes a policy-oriented perspective on lobbying, focusing both on the rules and deontological guidelines as well as the experiences of self-regulation by lobbyists. Lobbying, the oral or written communication with a public official to influence legislation, policy or administrative decisions, is widely perceived as a form of corruption due to its opaque and often poorly regulated nature. Lobbying is key to any complex decision-making and administrative process. Parliaments, governments and even regulators need lobbying for the simple reason that they cannot handle with the same degree of expertise all policy domains.  Lobbying is not bad per se, but it is the way it is carried out that is at stake. Some lobbying, linked to multiple client agencies is opaque and may place MPs, Ministers, cabinet staff and regulators under a sort of corrupt contractual obligation which hinders their independence, impartiality and integrity, hence the need for regulation.


The project looks into the disproportionate and undue access to the legislative, regulatory and executive processes by lobbyists and the lack of transparency and public scrutiny of lobbying activities. It takes a holistic approach to the regulation and supervision of lobbying, by looking at the pluralist and multi-level nature of decision-making, multiple players (in some countries you will not find lobbying firms as such, but law or consulting firms), different venues for influence peddling (parliament, ministerial cabinets, regulators), etc. Any lobbying regulation needs to be articulated with various pieces of legislation. Adopting a register is just one amongst several measures to be discussed in the scope of this research. The project foresees data collection and treatment on lobbying practices across different levels of decision-making and focusing on three levels of intervention:

  • Recipients (MPs, Ministers, Members of Cabinet, Regulators, Mayors, Councillors, etc);
  • Intermediaries (multi-client law firms, lobbying companies);
  • Clients (people contracting lobbying services: companies, individual businessmen, etc).

The aim is to develop a handbook of best practices and advocate for the adoption of lobbying regulation and the establishment of effective supervisory mechanisms.

Objectivos: 
State of the art: 
For lobbying to be a legitimate and positive force, equal access of all interest groups to policy makers is critical. Yet, the extensive funds at the disposal of interest groups and the close relationship between the private sector and lawmakers can lead to undue, unfair influence in a country's policies and create risks for political corruption. Public confidence in how policies are being formulated, and in whose interest, has been negatively affected by repeated incidences of opaque lobbying practices. In light of the on-going financial crisis in Europe, the financial sector is of particular concern for European citizens and decision makers.
Parceria: 
National network
Coordenador 
Start Date: 
01/11/2013
End Date: 
31/10/2015
Duração: 
24 meses
Closed