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Clients’ Top 5 Complaints with Their Lobbyists

Ron Phillips[1], Republic Consultants, LLC, Washington, D.C., says the top 5 complaints he hears from new clients about why they dismissed their former lobbyists are the fired lobbyists’: 1)    LACK OF A LOBBYING PLAN – seemingly no organized approach to winning their issue 2)    LACK OF COMMUNICATION – between the client and lobbyist 3)  …

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Dogs and Rattlesnakes – Lawmakers and Lobbyists

Despite legislatures adopting sexual harassment policies and mandatory annual training, lobbyists should not presume sexual harassment will cease. Experience to date suggests sexual harassment training does little to change lawmaker behavior. In part this may be because the drivers for the behavior remain, a few of which include: legislatures remain overwhelmingly male; acquired situational narcissism; …

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Animal Lovers

I spoke at an animal welfare conference. Several speakers gave interesting presentations. A researcher said that among millenials twice as many women as men research animal welfare on the web; among baby-boomers – four times as many women as men. A defense attorney said USDA wins in 100 percent of enforcement actions because they charge …

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How Much Do Donors Get for Their $?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D NY) and Conor Lamb (D PA) both rejected PAC political contributions. Publix supermarkets announced it will make no more political contributions. Toyota will stop giving election objectors political donations. None of the corporations and associations for which I worked regularly made political campaign contributions. “And only about a third of the thousands of …

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Sen. Sasse Describes the Why and Results Thereof of Elected Lawmakers

Sen. Sasse describes the why and results thereof of elected lawmakers defaulting to the courts and executive agencies. This surrender occurs in Washington, D.C. and state capitols. Insiders Talk: Winning with Lobbyists Professional edition and abbreviated in the Readers edition discusses this trend in great detail and how we lobbyists can work effectively within the current constitutionally distorted system. …

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¿Cabildero o Lobista – Hay Diferencia?

A Peruvian lobbyist and I spoke about the similarities of lobbying in our respective countries. There are differences. Peru is unicameral while 49/50 US state legislatures are bicameral, Nebraska being unicameral. Political corruption there is rampant, as it is in almost all 3rd world countries. Legislative procedures vary. And international NGOs are attempting to force values upon …

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Scrupulous Honesty in Lobbying and the Seminar Business

Trust is the foundation of effective lobbying. Lawmakers and staff listen to those whom they trust and dismiss the untrustworthy. The elements of trust are scrupulous honesty, accuracy, and credibility. Scrupulous honesty means the whole truth, unshaded, without nuance. Arkansas state Senator Uvaldi Lindsey once told me he doesn’t trust lobbyists who are “technically accurate …

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Scrupulous Honesty in Lobbying… – Part 2

Over supper recently, a private sector union lobbyist and I discussed union workers in the US illegally. When I asked him if by representing laborers regardless of immigration status his union wasn’t undermining American workers, his corporate response was that employers, not unions, are responsible for ensuring immigration status. This smacks of Sen. Uvalde Lindsey’s …

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All Too Cozy – Association Staff and Contract Lobbyists

A new board of directors called to ask my opinion about their executive director sleeping with their contract lobbyist. They feared this all too cozy relationship was not in the best interests of the association. In fact, their lobbyist was doing a poor job but the executive director lover took no correction. After our extended …

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For a Successful Client – Lobbyist Relationship – Create A Lobbying Plan

Last month a major-league lobbyist shared with me the top 5 complaints he hears from clients when they hire him after firing their contractors. In the next several blogs I’ll offer suggestions to clients on how to avoid these complaints from arising. While I have a client-centric bias, I hope both clients and contractors will find these suggestions …

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For a Successful Client – Lobbyist Relationship – Communicate

A big reason clients give as an explanation for firing their lobbyists is the lack of communication. Lack of communication can occur at either the lobbyist’s or the client’s initiative. I say initiative because non-communication is a conscious choice. Sometimes a lobbyist doesn’t want to “waste” time communicating with clients, especially bad ones. Or some clients may be …

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For a Successful Client – Lobbyist Relationship – Include Clients in Lobbying

Have you ever heard this joke? A potential client asks a lobbyist, “How much would a retainer cost us?” Lobbyist: 12 thousand dollars. “How much for you to lobby for us?” Lobbyist: 30 thousand dollars. “How much if we lobby together?” Lobbyist: 60 thousand dollars. Some contractors don’t want clients to do anything more than write checks. There are …

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For a Successful Client – Lobbyist Relationship – Have a Clear Fee Structure

The fourth reason clients give for firing their contractors is they don’t understand the fees they are paying. Lobby School students at times say to me, “We pay our #$%! lobbyist too much #$%! money for what we are getting!” Yet, I suspect they, like most consumers of lobbying services, really don’t know what they …

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For a Successful Client – Lobbyist Relationship – Report Progress and Success

Another reason clients fire their contractors is: lobbyists not reporting progress and success. This complaint is a subcategory of Reason Number 2 for Firing – Failure to Communicate. It flows from 1) fundamental disrespect for the client,  2) inadequate engagement documents, or 3) unenforced engagement documents. Fundamental disrespect for the client: If lobbyists conclude you are in over your head, …

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Advice for New Lobbyists: Who Do You Want to Be? Can You Escape Burnout?

This next series of posts is intended to help new lobbyists find their places in their organizations and in the lobbying world.  For each reader, your answers set the foundation for your professional future, success, job satisfaction, and longevity. Let’s consider some questions that should be considered before you take a job. Those of you already employed must …

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Advice: How Government Affairs Sophisticated Is Your Employer?

In our last essays, we examined two foundational questions new lobbyists must face: Who do you want to be in your organization; and, are you strong enough to avoid burnout? In this post, we consider the office context into which you will be working, specifically your employer’s level of government affairs (GA) sophistication and its …

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Advice for New Lobbyists: How to Work in a Logical, but Irrational Environment

The previous two posts dealt with questions fundamental to you having a successful lobbying career: Post 1) Who do you want to be in your organization? and, Can you escape burnout? Post 2) How government affairs (GA) sophisticated is your employer? and, How committed is your employer to your GA program and to you? In …

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Advice for New Lobbyists: You Got the Job. What’s Next?

Bolster your training and supplemental resources. Learn your employer’s political history and landscape. Identify internal and external political resources. Evaluate the wisdom and efficacy of making political contributions. Make the rounds. Build constituent teams. But first, because these blogs are about you, let’s reconsider my earlier pre-hire questions for job-seekers: Who do you want to be in your …

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Advice for New Lobbyists: Assessing Your Chances of Legislative Success

You have the job. You are going to get supplemental training and avail yourself to advanced reading. You have learned your principal’s political history and landscape. Your next steps toward being successful in your new career are to: Identify internal and external political resources. Evaluate the wisdom and efficacy of making political contributions. Identify internal and …

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Neither Liberty Nor Property Is Safe When the Legislature Is In Session

“Neither Liberty Nor Property Is Safe When the Legislature Is In Session.” Does This Suggest State Legislatures Can Reverse Federal Constitutional Protections? (From Reason) “The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates rejected a resolution to endorse the affirmative consent standard, which holds that an [sexual] encounter should be considered assault unless each participant obtained a …

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Executive Agency Legislative Liaisons

A state executive agency is a special interest-government hybrid. It’s a special interest in that its own interests compete for favorable legislation and appropriations against other special interests. At the same time, it’s government because the legislature created it, tells it what to do via statute and budget, and its staff are state employees. Lawmakers are obligated to fund agency …

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