Fighting corruption in the public sector

Lobbying

 

Permanent URL: www.oecd.org/gov/ethics/lobbying

 

Lobbying

Lobbyists can influence government decisions and are part of the policy-making process in modern democracies.  Lobbying can provide governments with valuable insights and data but it can also lead to unfair advantages for vested interests if the process is not transparent and carried out with integrity. Citizens interests are put at risk when negotiations are carried out behind closed doors.

 

It has been argued that the current economic crisis was partly caused by the influence of specific interests on government decision-making. An International Monetary Fund report (2009) links intensive lobbying by the financial, insurance and real estate industries in the United States with high-risk lending practices.  The report concludes that “the prevention of future crises might require weakening political influence of the financial industry or closer monitoring of lobbying activities to understand the incentives behind better.”

 

Increase in lobbying

There is an increase in the number of lobbyists and in the amount of money spent on lobbying.  There are close to 5,000 registered lobbyists at the European Commission and Parliament and there are an estimated 15,000 lobbyists in Brussels. In the United States lobbying spending more than doubled between 1998 and 2012, increasing from USD 1.4 billion to USD 3.3 billion. 

Public pressure for lobbying regulation

In view of the downside risks of lobbying and the impressive mobilisation of private resources, public pressure is rising worldwide to put lobbying  regulations on the political agenda. Transparency, integrity and fairness in  the decision-making process are crucial to safeguard the public interest  and promote a level playing field for businesses. The experiences reviewed  by the OECD show that regulating lobbying has proven difficult for decision makers due to its complexity and sensitive nature with many OECD countries rely on self-regulation of lobbyists.  Contrary to popular opinion, the majority of surveyed lobbyists (OECD, 2009) support mandatory disclosure of information.


OECD Recommendation on Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying

To help address these concerns, OECD member countries adopted in 2010 a Recommendation on Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying as guidance to decision-makers on how to promote good governance in lobbying.

OECD CleanGovBiz Toolkit on Lobbying

Based on the key provisions of the Recommendation, the OECD CleanGovBiz Toolkit on Lobbying offers practical guidance on how to implement the Principles in practice. Public officials and lobbyists share responsibility to apply the principles of good governance, in particular transparency and integrity, in order to maintain confidence in public decisions.


OECD Comparative analysis on Lobbying

   

The report "Lobbyists, Government and Public Trust, Volume 1" reviews the experiences of Australia, Canada, Hungary, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States with government regulations designed to increase scrutiny for lobbying and lobbyists.

 

Current approaches, models, trends and state-of-the-art solutions are examined to support a deeper understanding of the potential and limitations of existing norms.‪ ‪

 

The report also presents building blocks for developing a framework for lobbying that meets public expectations for transparency, accountability and integrity.

 

    

Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 1 | OECD Free preview | Powered by Keepeek Digital Asset Management Solution
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The report "Lobbyists, Government and Public Trust, Volume 2" examines regulation and self-regulation of lobbying.

 

The report includes chapters defining and examining lobbying, describing the role of professional lobbying associations, exploring various codes of conduct and examining specific codes in various countries, examining lobbyists' attitudes toward regulation and self-regulation, and exploring various options for enhancing transparency and accountability. 

 

The report also includes the results of a unique survey of lobbyists' attitude in Europe that highlight howexisting measures function.

See also

 

Country perspectives (external articles)

 

  Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 2 | OECD Free preview | Powered by Keepeek Digital Asset Management Solution
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Timeline of lobbying regulations

 

Lobbying - updated timeline graph

 Source: OECD


 Regulations and codes of conduct in selected countries

Australia: In 2008 the Australian Government introduced a Lobbying Code of Conduct  that also establishes a Register of Lobbyists

 

Austria: Lobbying and advocacy transparency law (2012)

 

Canada: Lobbying Act (2008)

 

France: Senate Code of Conduct for Lobbyists and Code de conduite applicable aux représentants d’intérêts; the National Assembly Code de conduite applicable aux représentants d’intérêts (2013)  

 

Germany: Annex 2 “Registration of associations” of the Bundestag’s Rules of procedure 

 

Hungary: Government regulation of the integrity management system of state administration bodies and lobbyists (Magyar Közlöny 30. Szám (2013. február 25.) 50/2013. (II. 25.) Korm. rendelet)  

 

Israel: Knesset Law (Amendment No. 25), 2008

 

Mexico: Reglamento del Senado de la República (Senate) and Reglamento de la Cámara de Diputados (House of Representatives) (2010)

 

Netherlands: Lobbyist Registry (2012) 

 

Poland: Act on Lobbying (2005) and the amendment (2011)

 

Slovenia: Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act(2010) and the Registry

 

United States: Lobbying Disclosure Act (1995)

 

For more information about Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying please contact the OECD Integrity Unit at gov.integrity@oecd.org.

 

 

 

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