If David Cameron really wants to be tough on lobbyists, he only needs to look across the pond for an example of how the industry might respond.
On the Wall Street Journal website today, two top US political operators have hit out at Barack Obama’s approach to lobbyists. According to Joel Jankowsky and Thomas Goldstein, the president has ‘publicly attacked and caricatured’ lobbyists throughout the first few months of his presidency. They add:
‘His is not only a war of words. Through a series of executive orders, presidential directives and other actions, Mr. Obama has embarked on a program to systematically disadvantage individuals who properly register as lobbyists and the so-called special interests they represent.’
Obama has praised all of this as ‘a clean break from business as usual’, but the authors say his actions are harming policy formation: ‘What this break has principally done is restrict experts in governmental policy from access to policy makers….’
It is also argued that ‘the president only wants to inhibit those lobbyists that disagree with his agenda’.
The full article is here. If the Tories push ahead with proposed lobbying reforms, expect to see some of the same arguments being rehearsed on these shores.