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The Ethical Lobbyist

Reforming Washington's Influence Industry

Lobbyists in Washington aren't a new phenomenon. Since the early days of the republic, citizens and groups alike have hired professionals to press their interests with lawmakers. However, recent examples of misconduct—like that seen in the Abramoff scandal—highlight the unique ethical challenges this industry faces in the twenty-first century.

Though major scandals happen less frequently than popularly believed, the more pervasive ethics problem is that members of the profession often cut deals that go against their clients' interests. They sacrifice the interests of those they represent in order to curry favor with lawmakers. In The Ethical Lobbyist, Thomas T. Holyoke exposes how current industry regulations fall short of ensuring principled behaviors and may actually incentivize unethical behavior.

Holyoke presents the provocative argument that, in addition to welcoming stronger regulations, lobbyists need to borrow a page from the legal profession and adopt ironclad guarantees of principled representation.

The Ethical Lobbyist puts forth a set of principles and a workable program for implementing reform. The result is a road map to reform that will transform "ethical lobbyist" from an oxymoron to an expectation—and change the industry and our government for the better.

Georgetown Digital Shorts—longer than an article, shorter than a book—deliver timely works of peer-reviewed scholarship in a fast-paced, agile environment. They present new ideas and original texts that are easily and widely available to students, scholars, libraries, and general readers.

About the Author

Thomas T. Holyoke is an associate professor of political science at Fresno State University. He is the author of Competitive Interests: Competition and Compromise in American Interest Group Politics and Interest Groups and Lobbying: Pursuing Political Interests in America.

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Competitive Interests

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