Brussels Versus the Beltway

Brussels Versus the Beltway: Advocacy in the United States and the European Union

Christine Mahoney
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Brussels Versus the Beltway
    Book Description:

    This book presents the first large-scale study of lobbying strategies and outcomes in the United States and the European Union, two of the most powerful political systems in the world. Every day, tens of thousands of lobbyists in Washington and Brussels are working to protect and promote their interests in the policymaking process. Policies emanating from these two spheres have global impacts-they set global standards, they influence global markets, and they determine global politics. Armed with extensive new data, Christine Mahoney challenges the conventional stereotypes that attribute any differences between the two systems to cultural ones-the American, a partisan and combative approach, and the European, a consensus-based one. Mahoney draws from 149 interviews involving 47 issues to detail how institutional structures, the nature of specific issues, and characteristics of the interest groups combine to determine decisions about how to approach a political fight, what arguments to use, and how to frame an issue. She looks at how lobbyists choose lobbying tactics, public relations strategies, and networking and coalition activities. Her analysis demonstrates that advocacy can be better understood when we study the lobbying of interest groups in their institutional and issue context. This book offers new insights into how the process of lobbying works on both sides of the Atlantic.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-282-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    LOBBYING IS A THRIVING industry on both sides of the Atlantic. K Street is notorious in Washington as the locus of high-powered lobbyists, with the Hill as the primary object of their attention. Round Point Schuman and Avenue de Cortenbergh form the geographical center in Brussels, with lobbyists descending on Berlaymont and Parliament. Both systems involve a wide range of advocates¹ juggling for a role in the policymaking process, from beekeepers to chemical manufacturers, environmentalists to fishermen, recreational boaters to soda makers. If you can think of an interest, industry, institution, or idea, you can probably find a representative promoting...

  6. 1 The U.S. and EU Political Systems
    (pp. 11-30)

    THIS CHAPTER BRIEFLY introduces the two polities for those readers not familiar with one or the other political system and highlights the most pertinent institutional factors for the research presented in the following chapters. The U.S. and EU political systems have a great deal in common. Both have a federated structure with some responsibilities, or competencies, resting with the central level, some with the component state governments, and other jurisdictions shared between the two (Anderson 2002; Hooghe and Marks 2003). Both have an executive branch, a dual-chamber legislature, and a judiciary (Dinan 2005). Both the U.S. and EU systems are...

  7. 2 Explaining Advocacy
    (pp. 31-44)

    NUMEROUS HANDBOOKS AND how-to manuals have been written in both the United States and the European Union on how to lobby successfully (Guyer 2003; Watkins et al. 2001; Avner 2002; Burson-Marsteller 2003). However, attempts at an all-purpose prescription for successful lobbying are misguided, for there is no such thing as the best advocacy strategy, the best route or access point, the best tactic—a successful lobbying campaign is one that is tailored to the specifics of the situation at hand. Lobbying decisions must be taken with the political context centrally in mind. As one lobbyist, in the transportation sector, interviewed...

  8. 3 Researching Advocacy
    (pp. 45-62)

    THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER laid out the theoretical basis for the research—arguing institutional, issue, and interest factors collude to determine the nature of a lobbyist’s advocacy strategy on a given political issue. Until now a model simultaneously considering the effect of the three sets of independent variables—institutions, issues, and interests—on the entire advocacy process, and tested through rigorous empirical analysis, has not been possible. This is because of the design of previous research projects studying advocacy; in each area of relevant scholarship at least one critical component was missing.

    This chapter describes the research design required to successfully...

  9. 4 Lobbying Positions
    (pp. 63-80)

    MANY OBSERVERS OF U.S. and EU politics perceive a great difference between U.S. and EU lobbying styles. Wöll’s comprehensive review of the literature in this area concludes that “all analysts seem to agree that EU lobbying is less confrontation and more consensus-oriented than U.S. lobbying” (2005b, 7). She references a number of scholars to support this interpretation, such as Coen’s argument that the European lobbying style is characterized by a “low public profile” and is “sophisticated” compared to the “aggressive lobbying of Washington firms” (1999, 41). McGrath, in his comparison of European and American lobbying styles, quotes a lobbyist who...

  10. 5 Argumentation
    (pp. 81-110)

    ADVOCACY AT BASE is argumentation. While there can be a great deal of variation in how and to whom various policy arguments are communicated—as the following chapters will detail—it is the arguments themselves that are fundamental to advocacy. This chapter will consider the determinants of argument selection. The theoretical expectations are presented first, followed by the empirical findings, presenting a mix of quantitative and qualitative evidence regarding the character and determinants of argumentation in the two polities.

    In some ways the selection of an argumentation strategy may seem obvious. If a proposal will damage a lobbyist’s economic sector,...

  11. 6 Lobbying Targets
    (pp. 111-126)

    THE EARLY SCHOLARLY works on lobbying in America painted a picture of unbridled power of special interests dictating the nation’s public policy. Cater (1964) detailed the uncontested influence of the sugar lobby and military–industrial complex. Advocates for sugar producers and defense manufacturers were portrayed as largely dictating legislation in these areas due to their tight relationship with policymakers in their respective iron triangles. Maass (1951) described a very similar situation in the area of water policy. Lobbyists in short were wielding considerable influence in the policy-making process. Bauer, Pool, and Dexter’s (1963) study flipped this common understanding of lobbying...

  12. 7 Inside Lobbying Tactics
    (pp. 127-146)

    KNOWING THE ARGUMENTS and the primary targets of those arguments is not enough; advocates also will have to decide on the most effective way to directly communicate their message to policymakers. This is the world of inside lobbying; it is the day-to-day life of advocates in Washington and Brussels.¹ It involves participating in hearings, consultations, and stakeholder meetings; drafting legislation and amendments; sending position papers, letters, and faxes; meeting with policymakers one-on-one and with their staff; organizing cocktail parties, seminars, and conferences; orchestrating lobbying day fly-ins of high-level membership, and arranging visits by policymakers to the field; and many other...

  13. 8 Outside Lobbying Tactics
    (pp. 147-166)

    AS THE PREVIOUS chapters have demonstrated, the complex world of insider lobbying involves countless critical decisions about which methods to use to directly communicate to policymakers and which policymakers to target. Effective lobbying campaigns, however, are not always limited to actions within the Beltway or Brussels. Sometimes it is necessary to reach out to the public to indirectly influence the policymaking process. Indeed Schattschneider suggested that the outcome of every conflict is determined by the extent to which the audience becomes involved in it, or the “scope of its contagion.” He argued that “those that are successful in getting the...

  14. 9 Networking and Coalitions
    (pp. 167-182)

    ONE OFTEN-CITED adage about lobbying is “It’s all about who you know.” While that might not be the entire story, as the previous chapters have shown, it is clear that knowing the right people—talking with them, sharing information with them—are important determinants of lobbying behavior. Talking matters; communication is paramount. Indeed, an introverted lobbyist would not likely go far in either Washington or Brussels.

    Nearly every scholarly work on lobbying mentions networking of one type or another (especially Heclo 1978; Sabatier 1988; Salisbury et al. 1987). Lobbyists share tidbits of information during hearing recesses, they forward e-mails with...

  15. 10 Lobbying Success
    (pp. 183-206)

    THE AIM OF lobbying is to influence public policy; thus it is natural as political scientists we would seek to study lobbyists’ ability to achieve influence. As natural as it may seem, however, group scholars have not by and large studied lobbying influence. Instead they have tended to avoid it, finding it troubling to quantitatively measure the concept. In both the United States and the European Union scholars have focused on a whole host of lobbying-related phenomena—formation, organization, access, activity—but not influence. This is especially ironic because the question of influence seems to be the first thing that...

  16. Conclusion
    (pp. 207-220)

    MANY OBSERVERS HAVE suggested the U.S. and the EU policy communities are converging in their lobbying practices; others have claimed advocacy in the two systems is categorically different. This book has shown that neither extreme is accurate. American and European advocates share similarities and also display differences.

    The argumentation strategies employed by American and European advocates are quite similar. The same five types of arguments can be heard in both arenas: those referencing commonly shared goals, cost and economic arguments, feasibility and workability arguments, technical and scientific arguments, and finally fairness or discrimination arguments. Only constituency arguments are unlikely to...

  17. Appendix: Case Descriptions
    (pp. 221-240)
  18. References
    (pp. 241-252)
  19. Index
    (pp. 253-260)