Research: Lobbying

One of our specialties at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies is the study of lobbying reform in Washington DC. CCPS hosts seminars on lobbying reform efforts. In addition, our scholars and students have produced numerous papers and articles on lobbying reforms and our scholars have been interviewed by various media outlets about lobbying reform. On this page, you will find information on our work in this critical area of study.

American Bar Association Task Force on Lobbying Reform

Professor James A. Thurber has served on the American Bar Association Task Force on Lobbying reform, which has authored an important report on the topic. The Task Force is made up of those in both the public and private sector and represents a broad spectrum of expertise.

Prof. Thurber Discusses Lobbying With Ukrainian Students and Scholars

Professor Thurber discusses lobbying with students in Ukraine.

CCPS Director and Distinguished Professor of Political Science James Thurber recently spoke to students of Ukraine's National Aviation University in person as well as via Internet with students at Kremenchuk State Polytechnic University about lobbying and ethics.

Norm Eisen headlines Lobby Reform Conference

James Thurber and Norm Eisen

The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and the Center for American Progress hosted a symposium titled "Undue Influence?: Improving the Regulation of Lobbying" Monday, Sept. 14. Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, was the keynote speaker.

The Center for American Progress has posted video of the forum.

Mr. Eisen discussed the lobbying reforms instituted by the White House under president Obama. These reforms include a general ban (with a handful of exceptions) on lobbyists working for the administration in the same field in which they did recent lobbying work; posting records of nearly all visitors to the White House; and greater transparency, particularly in the decision stages of competitive grant applications.

"We are not here to do the bidding of the special interests..., but to serve the public interest," Eisen told the audience.

Other guest panelists included:

  • Scott Lilly, Chair (Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress)
  • Bob Kaiser (Associate Editor and Senior Correspondent for the Washington Post, author of So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government)
  • Wendell Potter (Senior Fellow at the Center for Media and Democracy, formally director of communications for Cigna, one of the nation's largest health insurers.)
  • James A. Thurber, Chair (Distinguished Professor of Government at American University, Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies)
  • Patrick J. Griffin (Scholar in residence in the Department of Government and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies and Academic Director of the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute, formerly served as assistant to the President for legislative affairs in the Clinton White House)
  • Melanie Sloan (Executive Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)
  • Barbara Sinclair (Professor of American Politics, University of California at Los Angeles, author of six books and numerous articles on Congress and the legislative process)
  • Thomas Susman Chair, (Director, Government Affairs Office for the American Bar Association and co-author of The Lobbying Manual, a Complete Guide to Federal Law Governing Lawyers and Lobbyists published by the ABA)
  • Joseph J. Minarik (Senior Vice President and Director of Research Committee for Economic Development)
  • William Luneburg (Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, co-author of The Lobbying Manual, a Complete Guide to Federal Law Governing Lawyers and Lobbyists published by the ABA)

Press coverage of the symposium:

Center for Responsive Politics: Symposium panelists agree: More disclosure of federal lobbying needed

National Journal: Eisen: Media Attention On Ethics Is Good

American University Press Release: CCPS Cosponsors Conference on Lobbying

Presentations from the conference:

Prof. Thurber's opening statement

Prof. Thurber's Power Point Presentation

Prof. Thurber's Power Point Detailing the Structure of the Washington Lobbying Community

Prof. William Luneburg's opening statement

Melanie Sloan's opening statement

Pat Griffin's opening statement

Video from the forum

Opening statements

Obama headlines lobbying reform Summit

CCPS and the Committee for Economic Development (CED) cosponsored a major conference on lobbying reform Jan. 26, 2006 at the National Press Club. The keynote speaker was then Senator Barack Obama. Other guests included former Indiana Representive Lee Hamilton, former Texas Senator Martin Frost, Democracy 21 president Fred Wertheimer, Campaign Legal Center president and general counsel Trevor Potter , CCPS director Prof. James Thurber, and CED Senior Vice President and Director of Research Joseph Minarik. Watch the summit video.

Bryce Harlow Foundation Award winner announced

Ryan Miskell won the Bryce Harlow Foundation best paper award for the Ethics & Lobbying weekend workshop for Spring, 2009. Read Miskell's paper, President Obama's Attempt to Close the Revolving Door and Its Impact on Advocacy.

The Bryce Harlow Foundation best paper award recognizes the top paper among those written by students in the weekend workshop as determined by the faculty and the Bryce Harlow Foundation board.