Contract lobbyist definition is a person employed to lobby on behalf of the employer. Individual states may use different terms to qualify lobbying, as well as what does not qualify as the term and exceptions to those as well.

Who Are Lobbyists?

Typically, a lobbyist is a person who is paid or compensated in return for lobbying on behalf of another party. Not every person who lobbies is a lobbyist. For example, a lawmaker using the regular legislative activities to advocate for a bill is not seen as a lobbyist. Likewise, a constituent reporting a personal issue to a state official is excluded from that definition.

When Is a Lobbyist Required to Register?

Some states including Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Texas, and Wyoming require lobbyists to register after receiving up to a certain amount of compensation.

Factors to Think About When Considering to be a Lobbyist

When considering a lobbying job, you need to understand the following:

  • The types of lobbying jobs that are available.
  • The role you want to play as a lobbyist.
  • Potential lobbying roles that align with your interests and strengths.

The primary considerations when attempting a lobbying job is to determine whether your lobbying activities will focus on legislative issues or influencing the policy direction of agencies and departments of states. Some lobbying jobs require you to take active roles in proceedings while others are more laid back. For many lobbyists, their work requires being present at hearings and meetings, writing advocacy papers and bill analyses, tracking bills and amendments, and drafting update reports for their employers.

Alternatively, some lobbyists are a constant sight at the State Capitol, going from one legislator's office to another for meetings, playing active roles in committee proceedings among others. You have to consider the roles that are in sync with your strengths and interests. Do you perform best under the radar or prefer a more conspicuous role in the lobbying profession?

Types of Lobbying Jobs

Typically, there are three types of lobbying jobs including:

  • Contract.
  • Association.
  • In-house/GR.

Contract Lobbyists

A contract lobbyist is a person employed on contract by lobbyist employer(s) to help that employer influence policy. Contract lobbyists are required to register with the Secretary of State/FPPC, pass the lobbyists ethics course, and uphold the legislation guiding lobbying activities. Employers of contract lobbyists include:

  • Lobbying firms.
  • Companies.
  • Trade associations.
  • Unions, and others.

If you are considering working as a contract lobbyist, you need to determine whether to work in a large or small lobbying firm. Majority of lobbying firms comprise of either one lobbyist or two to three practitioners. Large lobbying firms that employ regularly are few.

Once you have decided on the type of lobbying role you want, try to streamline your search using criteria such as an area of expertise or interest. Do you have requisite experience and training that qualifies you for a certain role? Maybe you have been a staunch advocate for increased regulation of fishing in the Arctic after working as a researcher for 20 years in that field.

Perhaps, being a vegetarian makes you passionate and highly knowledgeable about the irregularities in the agricultural industry, and this spurs you to take a lobbying job on behalf of the agricultural workers for enforcement of agreements between Unions and management.

Where Can You Find a Lobbying Job?

When you have chosen the lobbying role you want and potential employer, it's now time to land the position. There are several ways of finding a lobbying job, but the most common way is through a recommendation or word of mouth, especially if you are in a close-knit environment.

You can also get a job by telling people you know and current lobbyists you are looking for opportunities. Your chances of landing a lobbying job increase significantly with the number of people who know you are looking for that role. You can also watch out for job postings for lobbyists. You can find these jobs on websites related to legislative matters. Be sure to check regularly for new job posts for lobbyists.

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