Pressure on Lobbyist Transparency

If you go to the websites of some public affairs firms they boast that they can set up “grassroots networks” – fake campaigns to boost corporate interests. Big Pharma, for example, funds endless patient groups and fake think tanks that are really about increasing product demand, getting approval for their products or policy changes which boost their profits.

A number of left-wing groups have got together in the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency. Their key launch demands are:

* A mandatory public register of lobbyists, with full financial disclosure

* Enforceable ethics rules for all lobbyists

* Enhanced rules on ethics for politicians and public officials on the so-called ‘revolving-door’ syndrome between lobbyists and public bodies; to halt privileged access to decision makers.

This is necessary. A lot of public affairs firms are conning their business clients about what they can do, if they could do what they claim it would (or should) be illegal. It is a murky trade, it is one thing for businessman to lobby in self defence against over regulation, but as often as not they are lobbying for preferential treatment and corporate welfare. Vested interests are not in the common interest.

This seems to be an exclusively left-wing campaign when it is something that could equally easily be supported by groups like the Taxpayer’s Alliance. If this turns out to just another left-wing anti-business campaign it will be a shame.




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