What Is a Lobbyist?

You hear the term all the time on television, but what is a lobbyist, and what does he or she do? How does a lobbyist influence the daily operation of the government? By understanding the role that lobbyists play in our lives, you’ll be better able to sort through what you hear from the media and learn about the issues we face each day.

Lobbyists are professional advocates that work to influence political decisions on behalf of individuals and organizations. This advocacy could lead to the proposal of new legislation, or the amendment of existing laws and regulations. However, a lobbyist is prohibited from paying a politician to secure his or her vote on these matters.

In 2014, the top industries that employed lobbyists were pharmaceuticals/health products and business associations. These groups combined for nearly $300 million in spending on lobbying. The total amount spent in the United States on lobbying in 2014 was $1.62 billion.

infographic on about what a lobbyist is