Monday, March 3, 2014

Confused: lobbying and bribing, what’s the difference?

What is the difference between lobbying and outright bribery? I am confused whether any actual difference exists between these two terms, as the practitioners of lobbying claims. Why some pays bribe? Why someone pays enormous amounts in lobbying? How come lobbying acceptable in some countries and bribe got that universal negative meaning?

According to a recent TOI article, which again refers to a report by Centre for Responsive Politics ‘... across sectors, the lobbying spend had fallen to $3.21 billion in 2013 from $3.31 billion in the previous year. The number of lobbyists has also declined from 12,433 in 2012 to 12,279 last year’.

It is interesting to note that, companies and other interest groups considered it appropriate to spend $3.31bn and $3.21bn in 2012 and 2013 respectively, for lobbying. Isn’t because the elected representatives won’t be able to push forward this group’s opinion without something in return? If that is the case, then do you really think lobbyists are merely the PR front of these interest groups?

I believe, companies should talk directly to elected representatives without opening their purse in every step leading to their seats. If they want to hire an outside agency for that, so be it. But they have to make sure, elected representatives won’t get any monetary benefit out of it. Otherwise, we – the people - won’t find much difference between lobbying and bribing.


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