A Quick Look into The History of Lobbying

Lobbying, by definition, is essentially persuasion or interest representation that comes down to the act of attempting to influence actions, policies or decisions of officials. Lobbying is conducted by various individuals including those in the private sector, corporations, fellow legislators, or government officials. Here is a brief look at how lobbying became a part of our government and politics.



One of the country’s first lobbyists, William Hull, was hired by an organization, the Virginia veterans of the Continental Army to lobby for additional compensation. William Hull was an American soldier and politician.



Samuel Colt, gunmaker, sought to extend a patent. He directed lobbyists to pass out pistols as gifts to lawmakers. Colt was an American inventor, businessman, and hunter. He was credited with creating the mass production of the revolver commercially available. He passed in the 1800s as one of the wealthiest men in the United States



The U.S. Congress passed the first comprehensive lobbying disclosure law called the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act. This act requires registration by people who spend half of the professional time lobbying.



The Senate decided to create more explicit definitions of lobbyists following Watergate. Yet, intensive lobbying pressure prevents the measure from passing the House.



The Lobbying Disclosure Act is signed into law by President Clinton. The Act defined a lobbyist as someone who spends 20 percent of their professional time lobbying. This act essential redefined what the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act outlined.



Congress passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. This tightened the gift rules and also mandates that all lobbyist registration and disclosure forms are publicly available.


Lobbyists have been a staple in American politics since the Congress’ first session. In America, research shows that companies who utilize lobbying can be correlated with hefty financial returns. A study conducted in 2011, showed insight on the 50 firms that spent the most on lobbying concluded that it was a “spectacular investment”.

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