Lobbying

Lobbyists’ Literature

Lobbyists’ Literature

A sampling of materials left behind in Congressional offices in 2014

Like other forms of petitioning, lobbying involves direct actions intended to influence governmental policy. From the days in which politicians were regularly confronted in Washington, D.C., hotel lobbies, it has been a significant way that some people have affected and participated in their government.

Lobby: A Capital Game

Lobby: A Capital Game

In this 1949 Milton Bradley board game, players assume the roles of senators and representatives navigating their bills through Congress with the help and hindrance of special interests.

Lobbying has been carried out by individuals and informal groups advocating their causes and by well-funded professionals who represent large corporations and established organizations with significant sums of money at their disposal. And where money and power meet, there is always the possibility that in this representative democracy not everyone is listened to equally.

Keep Out

Keep Out

The role of professional lobbyists has always been controversial. Congressman Alfred N. Phillips in 1937 posted a sign on his office door welcoming everyone, “except professional lobbyists.”

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Lobbying for Women’s Rights

In the 1890s it was said that you would know that spring had arrived in Washington when Susan B. Anthony in her red shawl was seen in the Capitol advocating for women’s rights.

Portrait of Susan B. Anthony, around 1890

Portrait of Susan B. Anthony, around 1890

Susan B. Anthony’s shawl

Gift of National American Woman Suffrage Association

View object record

“The Marble Room in the Senate wing of the Capitol at Washington is peculiarly the haunt of the professional female lobbyist. … These female lobbyists are for the most part accomplished, versatile and fair to look upon, and the raw and inexperienced Senator falls an easy prey to their blandishments.”

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, February 4, 1888

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, February 4, 1888

Deceit and Corruption

At times money, scandals, and politics just seem to go together. While many people hope dishonesty is the exception, the more cynical believe it is just the norm.

“The Bosses of the Senate,” Puck, January 23, 1889

“The Bosses of the Senate,” Puck, January 23, 1889

Courtesy of U.S. Senate Collection

The Deadly Upas Tree of Wall Street

The Deadly Upas Tree of Wall Street

The face of Jay Gould, financier and railroad developer, is formed by the limbs and braches at the center of this poisonous tree blooming with bribes, Puck, August 30, 1882.

Gift of Marcia B. Kass in memory of Herbert J. Friedman

Campaign Contributions

Campaign Contributions

Newspaper cartoonist Clifford Berryman lampooned presidential candidate William Taft for using the issue of tariff reform to fill his wallet in this 1908 drawing.

Gift of Florence S. Berryman in memory of Clifford Berryman

Washington Confidential

Washington Confidential

The cover says it all in this exposé of the capital’s underside, published in 1951.

Gift of Harry Rubenstein

House of Representatives lobbying registration form

House of Representatives lobbying registration form

Any individuals or organizations that meet the formal definition of lobbyist under the Lobbying Disclosure Act are required to register and file regular reports on their activities.

Jack Abramoff Scandal

In one of the most publicized political scandals in modern times, lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion. The case, which centered on an Indian casino, uncovered a world of bribes, money laundering, and double-dealing that even surprised the capital’s establishment.

Time magazine, January 16, 2006

Time magazine, January 16, 2006

Gift of Harry Rubenstein