Lobbying as a word comes from the place where politics is often done, the lobby of an office.
Lobbying is the work of exerting influence and providing the communication that happens behind the scenes of democracy. In lobbying, the representatives of interest groups try to influence, in an unofficial manner, the decision-makers who are crucial to a certain issue. Through these activities, the representatives aim to affect the decision-making process that concerns the group they represent.
Lobbyists can represent, for example, corporations, consulting firms, interest groups or groups of citizens. Parties that are being lobbied can be policy-makers, officials, the media or people with the opposite outlook on the issue.
Lobbying has a bad reputation. In the gloomiest images, lobbying can be seen as secret influencing of decision-makers by powerful business elites and campaign funders that leave our democratically elected representatives as nothing but puppets. This fear is reinforced by the so-called “revolving door phenomenon”, in which people in positions of power become lobbyists for the business world, and vice versa.
Lobbying is first and foremost about trying to convince the other person by presenting strong arguments, facts and figures.
Lobbying does not, however, in principle, have anything to do with corruption or bribery. Lobbying is first and foremost about trying to convince the other person by presenting strong arguments, facts and figures. When understood in a positive sense, lobbying is the exchange of information and networking, which is based on discussion, expertise and arguments.
To offer the political system transparency, the European Union and the United States use a lobbying register into which lobbyists enter the parties they are lobbying for and the budgets they are doing it with.