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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Lobbysts' Lobby Changes Its Name

The Washington Post reports:
The Washington association that lobbies for lobbyists thinks it’s time to change its name and drop the word “lobbyists.”

The leaders of the American League of Lobbyists insist that the group is making the move because its business has evolved and its members do lots more than walk the halls of Congress and try to shape legislation. They’re into grass-roots organizing and public affairs and other sorts of politics and advocacy. In short, they’re not just lobbyists anymore.

But these savvy professionals also know that reputation matters. And they know that theirs stinks.

“Everybody has that misconception that lobbyists are walking around with a pocketful of cash and that’s about it,” said Monte Ward, the group’s president.

 On Monday, the board finalized its decision. On Tuesday, Ward said he would ask the group’s members to approve the switch to the Association of Government Relations Professionals. (The board also approved a new tag line: “Voice of the Lobbying, Public Policy and Advocacy Professions.”) Members will have 30 days to vote. The group’s bylaws require two-thirds approval before the name can be changed.
From the group's website:
You may have seen in today's Politico Influence column that Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-1) is circulating a letter among his colleagues urging Speaker Boehner to ban registered lobbyists from the Capitol buildings during the shutdown.
ALL's President, Monte Ward, has issued the following statement to the media:
“Banning any constituent or citizen from the United States Capitol and the congressional office buildings to keep them from meeting with their elected officials is unconstitutional.
While we respect the Congressman’s frustration for his constituents, we urge him to remember that all citizens, including lobbyists, have a First Amendment right to redress their grievances. Even though the federal government has shut down, the Constitution and Bill of Rights still stand.
The shutdown is an inconvenience for every citizen, lobbyists included. We wish Congress the very best for a legislative outcome that will reopen the government and put America back in business.”
We understand that Rep. Cicilline is circulating the letter to his colleagues for signatures. We will monitor the situation and continue to defend lobbyists and government relations professionals right to represent their clients and stakeholders to the government.