Law and the Lobby

This course will be taught at Boston University Law School beginning January 2011. The teachers of the course will be Professor Frankel of Boston University Law School and Mark Fagan,a Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Lobbying is fundamental to our participatory democracy. The courts have steadfastly upheld the right to lobby based on the First Amendment. Lobbying efforts have led to numerous societal gains from cleaner air to safer cars. Lobbyists also play a vital role in helping members of the government understand complex issues. However, lobbying has a dark side. Throughout our country’s history there have been scandals where money was used to unethically and unlawfully gain influence. Efforts to regulate lobbying have followed each major outrage yet they continue. This class will explore the legal, business and public policy aspects of lobbying. The course begins with history of lobbying focused on its legal foundation, regulation and resulting litigation. Next the business of lobbying is explored including the size, structure, strategy and economics of the industry. Finally we consider the impact of recent events on the future of lobbying - What has been the fallout from the Abramoff scandal? What is the impact of the Citizens United decision? What is the impact of the internet on lobbying, especially for non-profits? The reading materials include legislation, legal cases and business cases, collated by the instructors. Students will be required to write one 15 page paper at the end of the course.