This policy brief explores how openness and oversight of political finance can help detect & address the use of covert foreign political influence.
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To many observers, lobbying appears to be a process in which well-resourced interest groups shape public policy according to their own interests in clandestine meetings with officials. This negative perception prevails for good reason: the vast majority of lobbying worldwide is unregulated. Integrity norms and public safeguards are rare – while scandal is never far away.
Yet lobbying is also an age-old practice with legitimate purpose: it is a means of participation in public decision-making. Lobbying is an integral part of a healthy democracy, closely related to universal values such as freedom of speech and the right to petition of government.
The regulatory challenge for governments is to prohibit unethical activity while facilitating transparent and equitable public access to policy-making.
This briefing discusses:
- why tackling lobbying is a priority for Open Government Partnership (OGP) members
- trends and good practice in regulation
- existing and model commitments in national action plans