Ethics of Lobbying: Influencing or Buying Policy Makers

Essay by ivzivkovicUniversity, Bachelor's January 2006

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Policy makers in the United States Government are supposed to reflect the sentiment of the voters that placed them in their respective offices. Their decisions and their votes are a representation of their electoral platforms and their personal beliefs. The voting public often feels disenfranchised from their government and one way of bridging the gap between the public and the policymakers is by organizing a party of citizens and pursuing a common goal in unison. Governments, in democratic nations, strive for one thing and that is to stay in power. The only way that can be achieved is by getting the voting populace to support its platform, but if a minority group wishes to be heard in the sea of voices it has the option of making itself known through organized contribution, public campaigns and other methods. It is these methods that are the source of controversy among scholars today.

Depending on the value one places in ethics, one could argue that votes are being sold by policy makers to the highest bidder. Pluralists contend that the current system encourages minorities to promote their interests to the government. Every argument that pluralists have supporting the activities of pressure groups in the United States political arena does not respond to the argument that fundamentally minorities with the most influence can sometimes tailor policy according to their needs even if it is not in the best interest of the public. Lobbying is perceived to be a democratic way of influencing policy makers but disparities in power of certain groups, and their motivations, put the democratic values of lobbying into question.

The first amendment right allows citizens of the United States to petition their legislators for specific legislation. Even the first citizens of the new state were not ignorant of this right and...