legal issus

4 nov

Hello everyone!


You will probably have understood with our article of presentation, that we are both students in law and political science. So, today, we cannot talk about lobbies without seeing the legal issue!



When you read headlines of newpaper it is possible to find questions such as: Are lobbies a threat to democracy? Are lobbies regulated enough? It is important to look at the laws and see how they prevent lobbies to misbehave.


In france a law named Sapin 2 was voted in 2013 but implemented in 2017 the purpose of this law is to create a mandatory register to get to know how many lobbies we have in France so as to get them to respect transparency behaviors and taxes legislations. This idea of registration could also help preventing conflicts of interest and French citizen could understand more who is giving money, gifts, conferences to our elected representatives. Lobbyists must respect a very specific code of conduct applicable in both assemblies.


However, it is difficult to talk about lobbies in France without thinking about the European Union aspect of lobbies. France must respect many EU laws such as a EU transparency register for lobbies. This register was created in 2014 it includes a code of conduct which lobbyists agree to respect when they sign it. This registration is necessary to get access to the EU institutions. That’s why it is often said that EU lobbies are more secure, because they have to follow the rules and sign up the register to be heard.


For both EU or French registrations in case of non-compliance with the code of conduct lobbies get sanctions. Which can be fines, imprisonment depending on the result of the investigation. In the EU a suspension of the register is also possible for one or two years in the most serious instance.



America could not continue as well; however, it was necessary restrict or even regulate the practices of lobbyists.

the first act taken, was the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in 1938. The period of secret lobbies is over, now. lobbies must register, be open about their relations with government and inform citizen about their finances and their activities. People want transparency!


A few years later, in 1946 a new law was adopted: “The Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act”. It’s always with the idea of reducing the growing influence of lobbies. The goal was to collect a lot of information on these associations to then index them more easily.



After a few years the law was amended by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. It is mandatory, under pain of punishment, to be registered as a lobby with the US House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate.

After scandals such as Jack Abramoff case, who is a famous businessman. We reform the law, with “The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act” the goal was to limit cases of corruption and gifts.



Next week, we will see how the practice of lobbies has evolved. Because we had to admit, that most of the time, theory and practice are two different things!

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