Are Lobbyists Facing an ‘Identity Crisis’?

Last week, K Street Cafe reported that the American League of Lobbyists (ALL) may be dropping the word ‘lobbyist’ from its name. The motion to rebrand ALL as an organization falls in line with a more general trend wherein lobbying as a profession has expanded to include more PR and government relations work. ALL is entertaining a number of alternatives to its name, all of which replace the word ‘lobbyist’ with ‘government relations professional.’

The Hill’s Megan R. Wilson points out that ALL’s potential rebranding “is part of a broader debate among industry players about whether they should embrace or run away from their namesake.” And, given that the number of registered lobbyists in Washington is lower than it has been in over a decade, it’s clear that more and more government relations professionals are opting to reject the title. There are a number of reasons for this shift. One is that President Obama has enacted policies that keep lobbyists out of the government, so fewer people are willing to register if it means they will be barred from the administration.

“When the administration tells you that you’re unwelcome, and the public perception of the industry is so negative, lobbyists become very aware of the message that’s being sent,” Joshua Rosenstein, attorney at Sandler Reiff Young & Lamb told The Hill.

Others are bothered that the lobbying profession is generally unpopular. “It sucks to have your grandmother look down on what you do,” an anonymous lobbyist confessed to The Hill.

Click here to read more in The Hill.

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