Lobby Law and Legal Definition

Lobby refers to a group, organization or association that attempts to influence a legislation or government to achieve an outcome more favorable to its agenda or objectives. Originally the term referred to persons frequenting the lobbies or corridors of legislative chambers in order to speak to lawmakers. A lobbyist is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a member of the lobby.

Lobby and the activity of lobbying are terms subject to differing interpretation. According to some definitions lobbying is limited to direct attempts to influence lawmakers through personal interviews and persuasion. In others, lobbying includes attempts at indirect, or 'grassroots,' influence, such as persuading members of a group to write or visit their district's representative and state's senators or attempting to create a climate of opinion favorable to a desired legislative goal.

Many jurisdictions require a formal registration of lobbyists who come in contact with government representatives. In U.S., under the Federal Lobbying Disclosure Act (2 U.S.C. Section 1601–1612) most people who are paid to make direct lobbying contacts with members of congress and officials of the federal executive branch are required to register and file reports twice a year. If lobbyists neglect to register, they are susceptible to criminal charges and harsh penalties.