’I know the Secretary of State very, very well because he’s my
father.’ Taken out of context, these words seem innocent enough. But
they were spoken by lobbyist Kevin Reid to an Observer journalist posing
as a prospective client.
Reid was consequently accused by the Observer of peddling cash for
In fact, he specifically refused to guarantee to set up meetings for his
prospective client. But he did list the names of a number of friends in
high places, and gave examples of work the agency had successfully
carried out for clients thanks to its contacts.
Lobbying firms, like all other businesses, have to market
The question is how to do so without being accused of profiting from
one’s contacts? Clients employ lobbyists not only to gain an
understanding of the political agenda, but ultimately to influence it.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with trying to influence
politicians, it is the means used to do so that are at issue.
It is unfortunate that many lobbyists still seem to feel that they can
sell their services more effectively by proving that they are members of
an old boys’ network, rather than presenting themselves as professional