Tricounty News

Lobbyists and lawmaking

In the last election many politicians blamed lobbyists for some of the problems our state and nation face. In my view, paid professional lobbyists, as well as private citizen lobbyists, are an essential part of the lawmaking process. Their main function is to educate lawmakers on issues and pending legislation from the standpoint of the people they represent. In the Minnesota Senate we have a rule that says, "A lobbyist shall not knowingly, either directly or through a third party furnish false or misleading information or make a false or misleading statement that is relevant and material to a matter before the Senate on any of its committees when the lobbyist knows or should know it will influence the judgment or action of the Senate." In my experience this rule is followed almost all of the time. However, I have noticed what I would consider a violation of this rule at times. This is the same as you would probably find in many professions that depend on selling you a product or convincing you about the merits of some proposal. Legislative decisions should be based on information received from many sources and carefully analyzed to make sure which information is accurate. Rather than blame lobbyists for some of our problems like Senator McCain, Senator Obama and many others have, I believe we should blame our elected officials for inadequately analyzing the information presented. If you think things are goofed up now, if we tried it without lobbyists it would be really goofed up. Professional lobbyists and private-citizen lobbyists are an essential part of the legislative process. Lobbyists represent almost every constituent group you can think of, and most of them do a very good job. State Senator Steve Dille can be reached at (651) 296-4131, by mail at 103 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul MN 55155, or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .