What Is a Lobbyist and What Do They Do ?

A lobbyist is a person who works to persuade government officials on particular pieces of legislature. Lobbyists often work on behalf of an organization, corporation or group to push legislature benefiting that group’s interests or needs.

Lobbyists understand all aspects of the legislative process so they can effectively work with members of Congress and other government officials on the issues. They need a thorough understanding of the issue itself, as many subjects are complex and require research and strategy. A large part of the job is educating legislators about the topic. This often requires the lobbyist to break down complex information to make it easier to understand.

Lobbyists gather background information, statistics and evidence to support the positions they represent. This might include finding experts to provide testimonies on an issue. Sometimes lobbyists attend congressional hearings as additional research and to gauge the positions on the issue.

The lobbyist career doesn’t require a particular degree or course of study. A college degree is typical for lobbyists, as is experience with the legislative process. Lobbyists need strong interpersonal skills in order to communicate well and persuade government officials. Any lobbyist who gets paid for lobbying work at the federal level must register through the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate.