Home > Uncategorized > Can Lobbyists be Trusted?

Can Lobbyists be Trusted?

As a lawyer, I am always interested in legislation – what new laws are enacted, and what laws are being proposed.  Just check out my last blog post about a new proposed bill affecting business


Lobbyists certainly play a role in legislation. But what do they do?


In a nut shell, lobbyists are advocates for interest groups, individuals, or businesses who represent their interest to government. State, local, and/or Federal.



One thing is for sure, if you know anything about Lobbyists you know that:


Lobbyists get a bad rap.


If you perform a simple google search, you can see many articles asking the question: is lobbying bribery?


Can Lobbyists Be Trusted?


Some of the bad press given to lobbyists seems to clearly be warranted, just look at a news headline that came out just today regarding  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.



The Huffington Post Reports that the Mayor is Under Fire for Meddling in the Anti-Corruption Panel that HE created.


One of the allegations seems to involve special treatment for lobbyists. In the panel’s opinion, one allegation  warrants “deeper investigation” is that the Governor provided:


a carveout from the minimum wage law for one retailer, an exemption from an independent contractor law for a favored company and a series of laws tailored to benefit the clients of one lobbyist.


One Harvard Law Professor recently expressed his opinion  that if the allegations are true, the governor should resign. See his blog post here


So, can Lobbyists be trusted?


The answer is:  the right ones can.


This provides me an opportunity to unabashedly promote a man whose character I respect enough to put him in my blog post, my father-in-law, Jeff McAlvey, founding partner of McAlvey Merchant & Associates, a Michigan lobbying firm located in downtown Lansing.


Jeff worked  nearly 14 years with Governor John Engler, starting in 1984 when Engler began serving as Senate Majority Leader.When Engler was elected Governor in 1991, Jeff assumed the role of the Governor’s Director of Legislative Relations. In that position, he coordinated all of the activities of the Engler Administration in the Michigan Legislature. This included the development of the Governor’s initiatives into legislation and the planning and execution of the strategies necessary to secure the successful passage of that legislation.
Jeff was basically Engler’s lobbyist to the legislature.


When Jeff left Engler’s office,  Governor Engler had this to say about him:


For the past 14 years, Jeff McAlvey has faithfully served me,”  “He was a close friend and advisor and an invaluable employee. His reputation as a legislative strategist and negotiator was unparalleled. His impressive skills will serve him well as he makes the transition to the private sector. I will miss him, and I wish Jeff, Carole and their family continued success.”


A high praise from Gov. Engler speaks volumes.



One of the sources that I found a good snapshot is a blog interview that Jeff did through The Gospel Coalition


In that article, Jeff talks about what he loves about being a lobbyist.

I get to be actively involved in public policy, which I have a passion for. I enjoy and feel good about the policy I am able to push for since my partner and I have carefully refused to represent anyone who we believe would lead us to lobby for anything that we would ethically disagree with or that would hurt our witness. Another blessings is that I get to meet and work with lots of different people for all over the state with many different backgrounds.


Final thoughts:


Lobbyists are like lawyers in a lot of ways – we are advocates for our clients.


Those roles can be abused, as the Governor Cuomo news, if true, demonstrates.


Character matters. 


And advocates that you can trust are indispensable.



So if you are business, non-profit, or other interest group and need an advocate for your interest at a governmental level, consult a lobbyist.



Just make sure they are people of high character and integrity, like Jeff McAlvey.




Questions? Comments?

email: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com







via @tgc

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