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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lobbying and Data Mining

A recent post discussed how lobbyists have borrowed the tools of opposition research from political campaigns.  Politico describes another political tool that has migrated from the campaign world:
A congressman gets an earful from his neighbor after church about a tax bill. A senator suddenly finds old high school classmates calling her about an upcoming vote on a small business bill.
The same social data-mining ability and concept — that voters are more likely to consider new ideas from people they know and trust — that helped power President Barack Obama’s unprecedented field operation is coming to K Street.
More than two dozen trade organizations, local chambers of commerce and advocacy groups have already used the RAP (which stands for Relationships, Advocability and Political capital) Index, a one-of-a-kind piece of advocacy and lobbying software, to help find hidden social connections between lawmakers and their members. The goal? To leverage real-life connections on behalf of organizations — and to put a human face on complicated policy questions.