Lobbying lobbying harder to navigate, and promote shadow

Lobbying is part of American citizens’ constitutional right to petition the government as stated in the first amendment of the Constitution. Despite this, there are many arguments surrounding the issue of regulations and restrictions when it comes to lobbying and lobbyists in the United States. There are some who call for more restrictions, thus suffocating the ability of these lobbyists and their efforts. Tighter restrictions on lobbying are harmful to the growth of the technology industries, make state laws on lobbying harder to navigate, and promote shadow lobbying. Lobbying is a major part of capitalism in America. Groups, organizations, and businesses have representatives to petition the government on their behalf. Petitioning the government and lobbying are essential to the political process in a country based on democracy and the people to ensure a non-overreaching government (Eggen 3). Lobbying allows voices from all over the country to be heard that might otherwise get lost in the political clamor. Lobbyists are especially needed in the technology industry which is constantly growing, and therefore the laws need constant adjustment.  While some would argue that the technology industry has too much reach and influence, it is completely justified. In an industry that grows exponentially more than any other in the world, it is important to be ready to respond to changes. Without the ability to respond to new changes, the American technology industry’s growth would be majorly stunted. Leaders in the industry like Facebook, have lobbied for causes to help them hire engineers in open positions and help stop foreign based companies from hiring temporary workers. Facebook had an excess of engineering jobs that weren’t being filled by engineers in America (Lipton and Sengupta 1). The bill that Facebook and others in Silicon Valley advocated helped to induce entrepreneurs from all nations to come to the United States and create jobs. Silicon Valley also acknowledged abuse of the H-1B system by foreign companies which allowed the hiring of temporary foreign workers, who through companies’ misuse of the system, were paid low wages in jobs unbeknownst to the American public. Silicon Valley and Facebook sought to take the approach of making it harder for foreign companies to abuse the system of guest worker visas (Lipton and Sengupta 3-4).While the companies were successful in their goal, there are regulations placed on lobbying that harm the technology industry. The lobbyists for these technology companies had a vast knowledge of what was going on and always were aware of each side fully, which some Senate negotiators acknowledged was “extraordinary.” (Lipton and Sengupta 1). Without the freedoms they had, this bill wouldn’t have been as strong as it was. The bill helped to deter foreign companies from cheating temporary workers on low wages and allowed companies with open jobs to encourage permanent workers to come to the United States and increase the economic prosperity of their company and the country. The freedom the lobbyists had made sure that the economy of America wouldn’t be stuck in a cycle of wage slavery.However, restrictions on the industry are prevalent and the government is overreaching. The Federal Trade Commission currently has consent decrees from Google, Twitter, and Facebook on how they use information regarding their site visitors that include vague standards regarding privacy and other activities (Crovitz 2). The FTC has these consent decrees for 20 years, which in an industry as rapidly changing as the technology industry is a ridiculous amount of time (Crovitz 2). The world didn’t even have email 20 years ago, who can say what can happen in the next 20 years regarding the largest internet companies? Without their freedoms to lobby against these overreaching regulations, the companies would be stuck and the other industries in the United States that depend on the technology industry would be at a stalemate, making growth an uphill battle.Lobbying in the United States is not a simple process for state lobbyists. There are multiple standards and laws for lobbying and they vary by state (Driessen 2). Lobbyists have to be aware of the laws in the region they are hired in. If a lobbyist is hired in Pennsylvania, for example, they have to be aware that the laws of that state apply to them even if they travel outside of the state or region for national meetings or organizations (Driessen 3).Volume 18 of Chicago’s “Business Law Today,” states that a good practice is “to not assume the applicable ethics laws or ordinances are logical or intuitive,” (Driessen 2). Further proving that the state laws and regulations regarding lobbying are murky waters. Certain restrictions in one state can completely differ from another. The random arrangement of these ordinances could be a headache for not only a lobbyist trying to do something prosperous for a business, but also for a lobbyist such as someone with the American Bar Association, who make sure our legal system stays fair to the people and the lawyers, keeping government from abusing its power in that area.In 2009, the Obama made an executive order creating restrictions on lobbyists in government that was a move that neither party liked (Geman 1). The order required an ethics pledge from government appointees that bars them from falling into the “revolving door,” of government to lobbyist for two years once out of office, but the current lobbyists were hit harder. This barred them from working on issues and working for executive agencies they’ve worked with during the past two years (Geman 1). While it may seem like this legislation was a proper seat belt to keep the lobbying under control, it actually did the opposite. It is very likely that this helped to fuel what is called shadow lobbying, where advocates still work to sway policymakers but do not technically fit into the Lobbying Disclosure Act (Geman 1-2). It lowered the amount of registered lobbyists during the Obama administration because it was simpler to just not file as a lobbyist (Geman 2). Not only did the restrictions cut out the number of registered lobbyists, but also the number of experienced personnel. Since the policies bar lobbyists from jobs, there have been many difficulties, something that professionals have noticed and hoped a new president from either party would be able to fix since no hope was seen in the Obama administration (German 2). Lobbying is supposed to provide a necessary and useful service for the people and organizations of the United States. If thought of as a trade association, a group of lobbyists do not have such a negative connotation. In a trade association businesses support themselves and plead for their good and the good of their industry and their people, just like with lobbying (Streeter 1). Yet, some still have quarrels with this concept, and it is understandable to be wary of “big-ticket lobbying.” But in reality, the regulators are to blame, especially in the technology industry where the government tries to intervene and the companies then try to push back (Crovitz 1). When there are such strong governmental restrictions it stunts the amount of legitimate good business in Congress because the system is easier to beat around than it is to be a part of. Just looking at the falls of the Obama administration lobbyists, yet no real harm to any industry or people show that it will be done if the proper, free flowing policies are not in place. But the adding more restrictions isn’t the answer. Instead of choking the lobbying power, it is time for the government to let it breathe and let our voices be heard.Tighter restrictions on lobbying cause more harm than they do good. The technology industry is suffering and not being able to grow. State laws on lobbying are also a gray area, with many being different and hard to navigate. Once there are tight restrictions like the Obama administration tried to do, the amount of good lobbying falls, and you lose your ability to hear the voices of this country. While some may say that lobbying needs to be heavily regulated; increasing the difficulty to have a voice for organizations and industry will only promote under the table actions and an increase in overreaching government. If anything, it is most important to remember that it is a constitutional right to petition the government and therefore lobby in Congress. Tighter restrictions will not help bring peace to the political chaos, only intensify the madness of it. Works CitedCrovitz, L. G. “Silicon Valley’s ‘Suicide Impulse’.” Wall Street Journal, 28 Jan, 2013, pp. A.13, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.Driessen, Tony. “Rules? in a Lobbying Fight? THE ETHICS OF STATE AND LOCAL LOBBYING.” Business Law Today, vol. 18, no. 4, 2009, pp. 17-19, ABI/INFORM Collection, https://search.proquest.com/docview/207334087?accountid=41449.Eggen, Dan. “Rhetoric Aside, Many Incoming Republicans Hiring Lobbyists.” Washington Post, 09 Dec, 2010, pp. A.25, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.Geman, Ben. “Will Hillary Clinton Loosen Obama’s Lobbying Rules?” National Journal Daily A.M., Apr, 2016, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.Lipton, Eric, and Somini Sengupta. “No Longer Aloof, Technology Companies See Lobbying Pay Off.” International Herald Tribune, 06 May, 2013, pp. 16, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.Streeter, William W. “”Good Lobbying”?” American Bankers Association.ABA Banking Journal, vol. 95, no. 1, 2003, pp. 4, ABI/INFORM Collection, https://search.proquest.com/docview/218455487?accountid=41449.