US lobbyists fight stereotyping

WASHINGTON: Washington lobbyists, having endured nearly as much verbal abuse this year from the Democratic candidates as President Bush, are fighting back against what they call unfair characterisations.

The American League of Lobbyists (ALL) has sent a letter to all the presidential hopefuls urging them to stop demonising government relations professionals.

‘Lobbying is an essential part of the American political process protected by the US Constitution,’ the letter read. ‘[It’s] one of the major ways that politicians are held accountable to the people.’

Lobbyists have long been the target of election-year invective, but ALL president Deanna Gelak said rhetoric this year is unprecedented.

‘This is over the edge,’ she told PRWeek. ‘It exploits outdated stereotypes and plays on people’s lack of understanding – and we want young people to go into government relations.’

John Edwards has said lobbyists should be ‘cut off at the knees. John Kerry has described them as pests ‘scurrying around Capitol Hill’.

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