The Law and Ethics of K Street

Business Ethics Quarterly 17 (1):33-63 (2007)
Abstract
This article explores the law and ethics of lobbying. The legal discussion examines disclosure regulations, employment restrictions,bribery laws, and anti-fraud provisions as each applies to the lobbying context. The analysis demonstrates that given the social value placed on the First Amendment, federal law generally affords lobbyists wide latitude in determining who, what, when, where, and how to lobby.The article then turns to ethics. Lobbying involves deliberate attempts to effect changes in the law. An argument is advanced that because law implicates the use of force and because law ideally reflects the values of a democratic society, seeking to slant the law to serve a client’s narrow interests cannot provide an adequate ethical end for a lobbyist. On the contrary, a lobbyist has an affirmative moral duty to seek reasonably balanced and just laws. The article examines, refines, and defends this proposition in a number of settings
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