Are Lobbying Restrictions Constitutional?

This morning’s event at The George Washington University will discuss constitutional issues regarding lobbying restrictions, among other topics.

As presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain both focused a significant amount of attention on the role of lobbyists and what they – the candidates – felt was their corrupting influence on the policy making process. Since his inauguration, President Obama has continued to pay public attention to the issue by severely restricting the ability of lobbyists to be appointed to positions in the administration, and by restricting employment possibilities in the lobbying arena for former administration officials.

The press has also been a source of much criticism of lobbying and lobbyists. A string of egregious corruption scandals surrounding the lobbying community has led the media to question the very purpose of lobbyists in the American democracy, as well as how lobbying is conducted. Following President Obama’s inauguration, the news media seems to have intensified its coverage of and commentary on these issues. If this perception is accurate, why has more attention been focused on lobbying? Has the coverage been objective or biased?

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