HGov: Inside Lobbying


Interest groups seek support through lobbying, which refers to efforts by groups to influence public policy through contact with public officials. The two main lobbying strategies are labeled inside lobbying and outside lobbying. Each strategy involves communication between pubic officials and group lobbyists, but the strategies differ in what is communicated and who does the communicating.

Inside lobbying is based on interest group efforts to develop and maintain close contacts with policymakers. It is designed to give an interest group direct access to officials in order to influence their decisions. Access is not the same as influence, which is the capacity to affect policy decisions. Using an inside strategy, lobbyists develop direct contacts with legislators, government bureaucrats, and members of the judiciary in order to persuade them to accept the interest group’s perspective on policy.

Interest groups use two policy processes – iron triangles and issue networks – to obtain influence. An iron triangle consists of a small and informal but relatively stable set of bureaucrats, legislators, and lobbyists who seek to develop policies beneficial to a particular interest. Iron triangles represent the pattern of influence in only certain policy areas and are less common now than in the past. A more frequent pattern of influence today is the issue network, which is an informal grouping of officials, lobbyists, and policy specialists who are brought together temporarily by their shared interest in a particular policy issue. Unlike an iron triangle, the issue network would dissolve once the issue was resolved.

1) Read Chapter 9 pp.288-300



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