The American Bar Association (ABA), in a resolution to Congress released publicly yesterday, called for various changes to federal rules for lobbyists and lobbying, including requiring disclosure of survey research work conducted in "support" of lobbying.

The ABA resolution states: "(b) requiring LDA registrants and their clients to disclose in quarterly reports the lobbying support activities in which they have engaged, as well as the lobbying support activities performed by firms that they have retained, including strategy, polling, coalition building, and public relations activities".

MRA is concerned that lumping in polling with so-called "lobbying support activities" blurs the lines between activities designed to influence attitudes, opinions and behavior, and activities designed to study and measure attitudes, opinions and behavior. Perhaps if the survey research in question was not actually research, such as a "push poll" (an advocacy campaign masquerading as legitimate research), then this might make sense, but then the ABA needs to better tailor their proposal.

We will be sharing our concerns with the ABA, as well as the American League of Lobbyists (the main organization representing U.S. federal lobbyists) -- and Congress, if necessary.

Photo: K Street, by Glyn Lowe