Thursday, March 24, 2011

Most Amazing Thing About The Alberta Darling Lobbying Lunch?

There are so many lobbyists in Wisconsin, and so many well-heeled organizations that hire them them that they have their own separate high-powered group.

1 comment:

George Carns said...

James, I think this post about the Association of Wisconsin Lobbyists calls for a bit more nuanced critique.

I am not a registered lobbyist myself but I know quite a few professional lobbyists who work for progressive organizations and fight for crucial progressive causes. Being a lobbyist is an honorable profession in a democracy, whether working as a contract lobbyist or a staff member of an organization, regardless of the political stripe of the client.

Readers should note that the AWL website claims the organization is "committed to facilitating high professional standards by keeping members informed of regulatory law, administrative rules and other applicable policies." The AWL encourages all lobbyists of any political tendency to join, as long as they are registered with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

That appears to be true. Browsing thru their membership list does provide us a list of conservative advocates, organizations and politically powerful corporations. But I notice AWL members representing these (progressive) organizations, as well: AFSCME Council 24, WEAC, Smoke-Free WI, MTEA, WI Retired Educators, Steelworkers Local 2006, National Assn. of Social Workers, WI Community Action Agencies (WISCAP), WI Credit Union League, Community Bankers of WI, Children's Hospital, WI Laborers District Council, Marshfield Clinic, American Cancer Society. I know that some of the AWL members listed as working for contract lobbying shops also represent progressive causes, as well.

As to the AWL meeting with Alberta Darling and Robin Vos, I would hope that the progressives among the AWL membership will be there in force, gathering intel to sharpen their lobbying strategies, and advocating for their organizations and clients.

Of course, this is no substitute for truly grassroots community meetings with legislators on crucial issues. I would encourage a coalition of progressive lobbyists to organize their constituencies in each district and force legislators to attend local district meetings.