Getting a Grip on Influence Peddling


Influencing the government now takes place on many different levels. “Lobbyists” advocate their positions before Congress and federal agencies. “Consultants” steer clients through the government's bureaucratic maze. “Public relations” people seek to influence the government indirectly by influencing public opinion. And then there are the “influence peddlers,” whose lobbying or consulting is based on political contacts rather than knowledge of a subject. Today, the size and complexity of the government has blurred the lines between these endeavors, making it difficult to separate legitimate from illegitimate activities.

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