Shadow Lobbyists

Who are “shadow lobbyists?”

Today unreg­is­tered lob­by­ists — with a hand in dis­as­ters from the global finan­cial cri­sis to the BP oil spill — often hold more sway than reg­is­tered lob­by­ists, inter­est groups, and old-fashioned power bro­kers. They influ­ence piv­otal deci­sions about our finances, envi­ron­ment, and the wars fought in our names. The past pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can League of Lob­by­ists, Paul A. Miller, acknowl­edges that “there’s a new way to lobby in 2011, and that includes PR con­sul­tants, grass­roots con­sul­tants,” and oth­ers work­ing out­side the rules of dis­clo­sure. These shadow lob­by­ists are more insid­i­ous and dif­fi­cult to detect, leapfrog­ging rules and bor­ders and cre­at­ing a loop that is vir­tu­ally closed to demo­c­ra­tic input, account­abil­ity, and mon­i­tor­ing. They are an affront to the pub­lic inter­est and the checks and bal­ances of demo­c­ra­tic society.