I was recently asked about how one may trace legislative advocacy (lobbyist) dollars to a particular regulatory activity. This quick guide offers some examples for learning about who, for example, is paying to minimize proxy access in publicly traded US companies.
Investigate two important US statutes on transparency in lobby giving:
One way to know who is advocating for or against particular regulation is to check out the names of those who comment to proposed rules. One way to search for comments is at Regulations.gov. Search by agency and type of document: public comment.
The Senate Office of Public Records’ Lobbying Disclosure Act Database provides useful tools for searching through federal lobbyist filings (from 1999). Learn which companies and organizations have contracted lobbyists to advance their legislative interests or seek federal funding.
Several possible searches include: all forms filed in a given time period, all activity by an individual lobbyist or lobbying firm, or all lobbying activity that was hired by a given client or firm.
For enhanced searching of government information, check out the Lobbying Disclosure database in Knowledge Mosaic.
OpenSecrets.org reveals how much money individual corporations and labor unions have spent on lobbying every year since 1998.
The Center for Public Integrity provides investigative journalism that exposes the realities of politics and policy. Keep track of bills and their supporters, or politicians and their supporters.
National Journal is Washington’s premier source of nonpartisan insight on politics.
Roll Call covers House and Senate activity and the people involved in the Congressional arena.
For other sources of information on this or any other research topic, contact the HLS Library Reference Desk or make a time to meet with a librarian: http://asklib.law.harvard.edu/.