Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 2

Promoting Integrity through Self-regulation

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This second volume of OECD's study on lobbying examines regulation and self-regulation of lobbying. It includes chapters defining and examining lobbying, describing the role of professional lobbying associations, exploring various codes of conduct and examining specific codes in various countries, examining lobbyists' attitudes toward regulation and self-regulation, and exploring various options for enhancing transparency and accountability.



Lobbyists' Attitudes Toward Self-Regulation and Regulation of Lobbying in Europe

This chapter presents the results of the most comprehensive survey to date of attitudes among lobbyists towards self-regulation and regulation of the lobbying profession in Europe. Lobbyists responded to questions concerning codes of conduct, the extent of the influence-peddling problem, transparency, and regulation of the lobbying activity.Results show that the great majority (90%) of lobbyists are aware of the negative public perception concerning the lobbying profession and that transparency of their activities is useful in addressing actual or perceived problems of inappropriate influence-peddling by lobbyists. Surprisingly, only the minority of lobbyists surveyed (26.5%) believe that a government regulation of lobbying would not improve transparency and accountability in policy-making.Moreover, responses to the survey show that the most common form of ethics guidance among lobbyists is codes of conduct. Nearly all lobbyists surveyed (91%) indicated that they are subject to a code of conduct, most commonly an ethics code of a lobbying association. Very few respondents said they are subject to a government code of conduct.The chapter also notes that although it is widely assumed that professional lobbyists in Europe tend to oppose the creation of a lobbyist registry and publicly disclose their lobbying activity, the survey evidences that lobbyists are in fact willing to participate in a registry, even a mandatory one (61%), and disclose the information publicly on the Internet (82%). There are diverse views, however, about which lobbyists and what activities should be disclosed to the public and who should manage the transparency programme. Contextual features, such as trust in public institutions and level of compliance, are determining factors in the choice of preference by lobbyists.


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