The Fallacy of Lobbying Transparency: Towards a New Conception of Regulation in Democratic Politics

Many jurisdictions are witnessing significant growth in regulations concerning the lobbying of politicians in government and parliament. While lobbying is central to democracy, it is available mainly to those with significant resources and is often the most effective means of influence. Unchecked, it corrodes trust in public institutions. This paper argues that transparency regimes are inadequate for dealing with the underlying concerns surrounding lobbying. An analysis of those regulations reveals three problems. First, the laws often lead to little meaningful transparency. Second, there is little political will for supporting lobbying regulators. Third, the current regulations ignore other approaches that might be more effective in restoring public trust. Thus, ideas are mooted for a new approach to regulation which accounts for the nuances inherent in insidious forms of corruption common to lobbying practices.