Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

What Lobbyists Think vs. What Staffers Think What Lobbyists Think vs. What Staffers Think

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


What Lobbyists Think vs. What Staffers Think

Our colleague Alexandra Jaffe reports on a survey of congressional staffers and lobbyists, conducted by the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. As Jaffe writes, the survey "indicates lobbyists don't have as tight a grip on policymaking as they might like":

What staffers think of lobbyists stands in stark contrast to what lobbyists think of themselves: Twenty-nine percent of lobbyists believe they are very influential, compared with 8 percent of staffers who feel the same. And while 68 percent of lobbyists believe they're a valuable source of information, only 41 percent of Hill staffers agree, placing lobbyists below Beltway publications, Internet searches, and constituents for value when it comes to gathering information about policy.

Staffers, instead, overwhelmingly rely on the Congressional Research Service when learning about policy, with 86 percent naming it a valuable source. Issue experts were named by the second-largest group as valuable, and the Congressional Budget Office was third.

Lobbyists, too, underestimate how important Web searches are for staffers when doing research. Half of the staffers surveyed said they almost always consult Internet searches for their research, a fact that survey author David K. Rehr said indicates lobbyists might want to be focusing more on optimizing their information for search engines. ...

And good search-engine optimization might make up for the time not spent by lobbyists on the Hill, chatting face-to-face with staffers - 31 percent of lobbyists said they don't meet with staff on an average day, and 36 percent of staff said the same about lobbyists. Rehr, who was formerly head of the National Association of Broadcasters and National Beer Wholesalers Association, cautioned that this might diminish the quality of information exchanged on the Hill.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories


Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

Sign up form for the newsletter