Regulating lobbying

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In response to the growing influence of the lobbying and public relations industries there have been calls for greater regulation and disclosure on what they do on behalf of their clients.

Following calls by European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas for greater regulation of the lobbying industry David Earnshaw, the managing director of the Brussels office of Burson-Marsteller subsidiary BKSH & Associates, argued self-regulation was sufficient. "If you regulate strictly, the people who get hurt are the little people -- the people who do not have a voice -- not the people who can bend the rules," he told the Washington Times. [1]

He also argued that the commission would have difficulty gaining agreement on defining who a lobbyist is: "If you are a Socialist, business is the lobbyist; but if you are a Christian Democrat, NGOs like Greenpeace are the lobbyists."[2]

Brussels, home to the European Commission, has also become home to "over 15,000 lobbyists (more than one for every European Commission official) but just 10 per cent of these represent environmental and social groups," according to a recently-released report. "A massive industry of corporate lobbying has grown up in Brussels with overwhelming influence on European trade policy. Yet the relationship between the European Commission and the corporate lobby is almost entirely unregulated, unaccountable and conducted behind closed doors," says Dave Timms of the UK-based World Development Movement, one of the groups that produced the report. [3]

Other SourceWatch articles

Lobbying Regulatory Schemes

Lobbyists Professional Associations

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