Comparing Lobbying Regulations

Comparing lobbying regulations around the world

Marie Lintzer

How do countries compare with regulating lobbying? What are the best practices? Are there any lessons learned from the existing mechanisms? These are the types of questions the French High Authority for transparency in public life addresses in its recent publication on lobbying.

The study covers 41 jurisdictions, including all European Union Members States along with such countries as Canada, Chile and the United States, local initiatives such as the one implemented in Catalonia, and the mechanism provided for by European institutions.

Trust in institutions requires information on the ways in which public decisions are made. Transparency of interactions between lobbyists and public officials is therefore crucial in ensuring public integrity in the normative process.

Designed to highlight the transparency practices that exist at European and global level, the study takes the form of an interactive table. It includes information on the various laws, regulations and codes of conduct implemented in the selected jurisdictions to ensure oversight of lobbying activities, as well as on the institutions responsible for applying these rules.

Compiling data provided in reports issued by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Parliament and Transparency International as well as in research articles, legislative texts and online resources in each country, this document enables better understanding of the diversity of definitions of lobbying, the types of public officials concerned, and the means of control provided for by the various jurisdictions.

Analyses are based on a number of criteria that are essential to effective oversight of lobbying, ensuring safeguarded performance of lobbying activities targeting public decision-makers:

  • The existence of a law on lobbying;

  • The obligation incumbent upon lobbyists to be registered in a register, categories of lobbyists required to register, and the register’s accessibility;

  • The public officials concerned by lobbying activities and their obligations;

  • The information that lobbyists have to declare and how often it has to be updated;

  • The ethical commitments to which interest representatives are subject;

  • The sanctions regime applicable to lobbyists that disregard their obligations; and

  • The means of control and investigation allocated to the entity responsible for ensuring that lobbyists comply with their declarative and ethical obligations.

About the author

Marie Lintzer is the Head of international partnerships at the High Authority for transparency in public life, which aims at promoting the integrity and exemplarity of public officials and manages the lobbying transparency registry in France. She is an anti-corruption and public sector transparency expert with more than ten years of international experience. She worked on governance issues in the oil, gas and mining sector, first in London for the consulting firm Resource Consulting Services, then in New York for the Natural Resource Governance Institute, formerly part of the Open Society Foundations. Marie graduated in law from the University of Paris II and Oxford, and in public management form the London School of Economics.