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Chapter 12. Lobbyists: Ten Myths About Power and Influence Rogan Kersh. Myth #1 – “Health Care Is Different”. Popular image of health care as a species apart is specious Health care is a big business It attracts a full complement of lobbyists. Myth #2 – “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”.

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chapter 12

Chapter 12

Lobbyists: Ten Myths

About Power and Influence

Rogan Kersh

myth 1 health care is different
Myth #1 – “HealthCare Is Different”
  • Popular image of health care as a species apart is specious
    • Health care is a big business
    • It attracts a full complement of lobbyists
myth 2 here today gone tomorrow
Myth #2 – “Here Today,Gone Tomorrow”
  • Lobbying on health policy has become unpredictable and chaotic
    • Supremely fluid “issue networks”
  • Kersh suggests health care lobbying functions around somewhat more stable, semi-permanent “issue regimes”
myth 3 it s a man s world
Myth #3 – “It’s a Man’s World”
  • Lobbying has traditionally been assumed to be monopolized by men
  • In health policy, more female lobbyists have entered the business
    • Nearly matching the number of male lobbyists in this issue area
myth 4 k is for republican
Myth #4 – “K” is for Republican
  • Republican-led “K Street Project”
    • Assumed lobbyists had switched allegiance en masse to the GOP
  • In terms of campaign contributions and organizational practice
    • Such claims seem to be exaggerated
    • Particularly in the area of health policy
myth 5 lobbying targets as rational choices
Myth #5 – “Lobbying Targets as Rational Choices”
  • Longstanding assumption holds that lobbyists carefully select “targets” of lobbying
    • Based largely on their supposed position on an issue
myth 5 lobbying targets as rational choices7
Myth #5 – “Lobbying Targets as Rational Choices”
  • Evidence suggests inherent legislative chaos and the pooling of resources under lobbying coalitions makes individual decisions of this sort rare
myth 6 clients are king
Myth # 6 – “Clients Are King”
  • It is commonly thought that lobbyists merely serve to transmit the preferences of client firms to decision makers
    • Thus affecting policy outcome
myth 6 clients are king9
Myth # 6 – “Clients Are King”
  • In actuality:
    • Lobbyists often act somewhat independently in order to burnish overall reputation in policy community
    • Or push for policy outcome in which one truly believes
myth 7 the revolving door corrupts completely
Myth #7 – “The Revolving Door Corrupts Completely”
  • Many believe a revolving door exists between policymaking and lobbying
    • Creating numerous conflicts of interest
  • Many former officials go into lobbying because of the passion they feel for certain issues
    • Not purely out of opportunism
myth 8 donations buy access or even votes
Myth #8 – “Donations Buy Access (Or Even Votes)”
  • It is often assumed PAC/lobbyist contributions “buy” access to officials, or even policy outcomes
  • Rationales for such contributions are more varied
    • Many lobbyists contribute as a form of “insurance” with members of Congress
myth 9 everybody does it abramoff style
Myth #9 – “Everybody Does It Abramoff-style”
  • Corruption on the scale of the Abramoff scandal is assumed to be rife on K Street
  • Evidence suggest Abramoff is the exception
    • Rather than the rule on many counts
myth 10 it s all about the spin
Myth #10 – “It’s AllAbout the Spin”
  • “Information” lobbyists provide to members of Congress is assumed to be repackaged depending on the member’s ideological leanings
  • In actuality, most members received the same information from lobbyists, with only minor differences