The Lobbyists database
Our political system is a tangled web of money and influence and lobbyists sit firmly in the midst of it all. Luckily Federal lobbyists are required to register both who they are and who they represent.
The list of lobbyists is interesting from several viewpoints.
First, it shows how many politicians and their staffers go on to make hay by lobbying other politicians and their staff. Access to the levers of power is lucrative.
Second, it’s interesting because the implication has to be that if an organisation has hired a lobbyist they are trying to get the government to do something for them. So there’s a story behind each of the clients who is actively lobbying the government for something.
Our lobbyists gadgets are based on the Federal Government’s own register of lobbyists. But we’ve made a few improvements. Sadly people filling in the register made some mistakes on the way – oops – and we’ve tried to be good citizens and correct the errors for them. Then we’ve added in additional data on the lobbyists with links to their websites, to media articles and to Wikipedia. For smaller lobbyists that doesn’t necessarily tell us much but for the bigger ones it adds a lot to the story.
There are two gadgets.
The Lobbyist Summary lets you pick a lobbyist and get al the info we have on one place. Barton Deakin is a good example as they are huge.
Lobbyist Clients lets you search by client and see which lobbyist firms they have hired. So, for example, you can see who AMP has hired, or look for all clients with ‘gas’ in their name.
FYI The state of the States
Right now we’re only looking at Federal lobbyists. Each of the States and Territories also has a register of lobbyists. However, each one is in a different, messy format. In fact almost the only common denominator is that they’ve made the data difficult to get at. So that’s another project.