Lobby Regulation, Democracy, and Public Trust: A Critical Evaluation of Swiss Lobbying Law

In Switzerland, public trust in State institutions is relatively high. This confidence can partly be explained by a range of deep-rooted traditions and institutional mechanisms, such as the so-called militia system, federalism, consensus democracy, and direct democracy. Yet in 2019, several political institutions scored relatively low in terms of public trust; some lost nearly one quarter of the confidence points they had earned in previous years. In parallel, a number of regulatory proposals are currently pending at the federal level focussed on campaign finance and of parliamentary lobbying. In this paper, my goal is to critically evaluate these and other existing regulatory measures from the perspective of public trust in democratic lawmaking processes. I argue that Swiss lobby regulation almost exclusively focuses on transparency, to the detriment of other regulatory goals that are equally important from the perspective of public trust in democratic processes.