Hi Reddit!

In 2015 I lobbied Congress to increase USAID funding for clean drinking water projects around the world. In 2016, I lobbied Congress to increase funding for the United States Institute of Peace, an organization that tries to prevent violent conflict. Knowing how important professional lobbying is to getting laws passed in Congress, I decided to start Lobbyists 4 Good the first crowdfunding platform that enables everyday Americans to hire lobbyists working on our behalf. AMA!

Proof its me: https://www.lobbyists4good.org/about (Scroll down to my bio)

Proof I lobbied: http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2016/RR/300824002.xml

Photo: https://twitter.com/BillyDeLancey/status/1011605053680050177

Looking forward to your questions!

Billy

UPDATE#1: I am back and trying to get through as many questions as possible. Just to clarify a couple things, my nonprofit is a crowdfunding platform that enables everyday people to hire lobbyists. The reason we are doing this is that lobbying is the MOST effective way to influence government and get a new policy passed. Right now, over 95% of lobbyists work for corporations or special interest groups and very few work for the public interest groups. If we had lobbyists on our side, we could level the playing field between us and corporations. It seems that some people think I am downplaying the impact money has in politics, I am not. I am simply pointing out the research which shows what lobbying is and why lobbying, not campaign donations, are the real reason for the imbalance of power in politics.

UPDATE#2: Ok, that is it from me. I enjoyed this experience even though it was a rough crowd. I did the AMA to try and show people that lobbying is an effective tool. Businesses use it to get government to work for them and regular people do not have access to it, and that is what we are trying to change. The actual practice of lobbying is not as nefarious as everybody thinks and, as you can see by this thread, it is extremely misunderstood. Thanks to all those who were positive about the idea and asked great questions, I really appreciated hearing your thoughts and feedback. Check out our nonprofit's crowdfunding platform at www.lobbyists4good.org. Thanks again, Billy

Comments: 1177 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

No_big_whoop2522 karma

Why is the exchange of money required to convince elected representatives to vote the way their constituents want?

billydelancey143 karma

One example I will give is recent efforts to raise money to donate to candidates who reject NRA contributions. This was supposed to counter their influence but has been unsuccessful. It is not the NRA's political contributions that members of Congress want. What's important is the NRA's power to tell their membership base to support or oppose a candidate in the next year's election. The NRA has a large supporter lists and they have the ability to single-handedly defeated politicians in elections. That is why everybody is so scared to oppose their policies.

DaBlueCaboose243 karma

But isn't the NRA itself just a group of people pooling their money to achieve their interests? How is that any different from "crowdfunding for lobbyists"?

billydelancey52 karma

In 2016 the NRA spent 1 million dollars on political contributions, 6.7 on lobbying, and 54 million on outside spending like ads, email blasts, and door-to-door. They get their power by being able to single handedly defeat candidates who oppose them. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=d000000082&cycle=2016

We are different because we are not a "special interest" group. We do not set policy and our mission is to allow everyday folks to have a stronger voice in government by accessing lobbyists. Individuals submit campaign ideas and if they meet our principles, we host it on our platform. If they raise enough money, we will hire them a lobbyist and monitor their work. We want to level the playing field between special interests, corporations, and everyday folks.

billydelancey3 karma

Great question. The thing to understand is that money is not as influential as most people think. There have been many studies that show no correlation between political donations and the way elected officials vote.

When a member of Congress decides how they are going to vote, they take into account many factors. They do consider how their constituents will view the vote, but they also take into account how it will play in the press, how their donors are going to be impacted, what the party leadership tells them to do, and if they will have political cover from other members or outside groups. At the end of the day, they will make the decision that they feel will help them get re-elected to another term.

So yes, money does play a part in things because 90% of the time, the candidate who raises the most money wins reelection, but there are many more factors that go into influencing an elected official's vote than donations.

viborg680 karma

How many lobbyists would we have to hire to outlaw lobbyists?

billydelancey121 karma

So many people say this when I tell them about Lobbyists 4 Good! Here is my short answer:

  1. Lobbying is protected in the 1st Amendment when it talks about the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. So even if Congress passed a law banning lobbying, it would be thrown out by SCOTUS.
  2. We'll never ban lobbying because it is so entrenched in our political system. The best bet we can hope for is to make it as transparent as possible.
  3. If you are going to change the system, you have to play within the system. That is what we think, or maybe I just got sick of all the people complaining without doing anything so that is why I started Lobbyists 4 Good.

Captain_Braveheart176 karma

Do you think that our democracy is being undermined by money in special interest groups/lobbyists?

I’ll admit, I don’t know how to phrase my question properly but what I want to know is your thoughts on money in politics and what your experience has lead you to believe.

billydelancey170 karma

Yes, money is a corrupting force that needs to be removed from politics (personal opinion). I would love to see elections be publicly financed and donations limited and transparent. My personal belief is that we will never get rid of lobbyists and the solution is to have the same amount of professionals working for us as corporations have. Right now, for every dollar spent by public interest groups, 34 dollars is being spent by corporations of business groups.

RalphieRaccoon175 karma

How do you plan on covering the administrative costs of this platform (that contractor must be expensive)? Do you take a cut of the fundraising money and pass the rest on to the lobbyist?

ColSamCarter100 karma

Similarly: there already exist NUMEROUS nonprofit lobbying groups in DC who already have the apparatus to "lobby for good." Why are you starting a new group, rather than helping to raise money for those groups that already have the administrative parts figured out? They desperately need more funding, so why not help them? They already have lobbyists in place, offices, staff, and could use your help.

stevanmilo93 karma

Yuh but nonprofits can be very profitable, why help someone else profit from a nonprofit when you can profit from your very own nonprofit

ColSamCarter41 karma

This is exactly why I asked the question. Why give this guy money? I only have so much money to give to nonprofits--I'm giving my money to a group that has a track record, that I can check on through years of financial reporting, that knows what it's doing. Not some GoFundMe joker who thinks he's the first person to invent nonprofit lobbying.

billydelancey21 karma

I can't tell you how many nonprofits I have worked with who have NO idea how to influence government. They promote somebody to head their advocacy who has no Hill experience, no connections, and no idea about organizing a successful advocacy campaign. Yes, there are some that do it well. One Campaign, for example, is good as well as some of the folks in the anti-hunger world (Share Our Strength and Feeding America). But again, these people HAVE to have million dollar budgets to build out a large operation. We exist for the nonprofits that do not have Gates or Ford Foundation supporting them or the individual who does not have a nonprofit that covers their issue.

billydelancey43 karma

This is a great question, we tried to be very conscious not to duplicate efforts. If we have a campaign submitted on our platform that has a lot of representation, we will encourage the person to donate to that nonprofit instead. Some groups that do a great job in the foreign aid space are One Campaign, Save the Children Action, and CARE.

However, many nonprofits are not great at advocacy and we want to be a resource for them. We have also found that multiple voices saying the same thing is very effective, so there have not been to many instances where we found that having an additional professional would not be helpful.

billydelancey18 karma

If a campaign is submitted and it is determined we would not add something to the field, we will not approve the campaign and direct people where they should be donating instead.

But, as an aside, you would be surprised how very few nonprofits lobby, and actually lobby well. The only ones that I know who lobby well have multi-million dollar budgets and money from big donors who influence policy. We can be a resource for nonprofits who only have 1 staff person dedicated to advocacy. Lastly, we are a resource for individuals who do not have a large, multimillion dollar nonprofit operating for their cause.

billydelancey53 karma

No, we are trying to raise money from foundations that support Civic Engagement work. Right now it is self funded by me (I do some consulting work on the side) but we are running out of money. The independent contractor is great as he charges a small fee for now, which will increase once we get some more funding.

Vindelator161 karma

What can be done to reduce the influence of money on politics?

billydelancey97 karma

My favorite solution is to implement a small donor matching system. The Brennan Center has done some great work on this and has found some promising results from local small donor matching programs.

One congressman who I have worked with and is now a lobbyist introduced a bill in the 80's that would have limited all donations to $200 no matter what. I always thought that was a good idea too but unlikely to pass.

https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/establish-small-donor-public-financing

icesir62 karma

Can I hire you to lobby in favor of making lobbying illegal?

billydelancey10 karma

If it meets our founding principles, we will host it on our platform. But as I wrote in an earlier post, that whole 1st Amendment is going to be tricky when you try to make lobbying illegal.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. So even if we were able to pass a law to ban lobbying, it would immediately thrown out by SCOTUS.

The best way to fix our system, IMHO, would be to implement a public finance system for our elections. That would solve a LOT of issues we have with our democracy. Check out the Brennan Center's work on this topic, they are great and have seen some promising results from studies in NYC and MD.

XxZypherxX48 karma

Are you for or against Lobbying as a practice going forward or just being necessary at this point in time?

billydelancey29 karma

Lobbying will always be around. The "right to petition the government" is guaranteed in our first amendment. It would be almost impossible to pass a law banning it. And if there was a law like that, the Supreme Court would deem it unconstitutional now that they have stated that corporations have the same constitutional rights as people.

To answer your question, I do not think lobbying as a practice is the problem. The problem is that for every dollar public interest groups spend (unions, nonprofits, consumer protection groups), corporations spend $34. So it is the imbalance that is the issue, not lobbying itself. That is why I started lobbyists 4 good, to try to counter that number. I figured if Cards Against Humanity can raise 100,000 to dig a giant hole in the middle of nowhere, the people can come together to get lobbyists working on their behalf.

sweetcheeks77740 karma

Why play into the same game “for good” instead of using the knowledge of lobbying to help eradicate the practice/problem of money in politics?

billydelancey29 karma

Because the "game" is not as nefarious as everybody thinks it is. Also, when we started, the first campaign on our platform was to implement a small donor matching system, which I think is a great solution for fixing what is wrong with the system.

Finally, I will say this. I think we are going to be successful with more niche issues. A female veteran who wants to pass a law to help other female veterans, or funding for the Institute of Peace which is a great government program with a VERY small budget. I am not convinced that our platform will entirely fix our political system, but I do think we can use lobbying to do some good in the world. Most lobbyists who work for corporations love this idea because they want to use the skills they have gained to do something good.

mmmgluten14 karma

So the solution to rampant corruption is to placate the populace by making them feel like they have access to the same corruption?

billydelancey6 karma

Ha, no! This is not a solution to fix all that ills American politics. But if you have an issue you care about, like the female veteran who came home and did not feel like the VA was very responsive to her needs, she can now have the same access to a professional advocate as a large corporation or special interest group. If the social movements that have risen had a more professional approach to advocacy, they would be much more likely to be successful. Does that make sense? I hope you get to read the threads to hear my point that all lobbyists are not evil, and it is an extremely misunderstood profession.

videoalex12 karma

I guess in question format: who defines what's "Good" in your organization? Helping coal is "good" and helping the environment is "good." They are mutually exclusive. So you just decide your morality based on who's paying the most?

billydelancey12 karma

Great question. We hire an independent contractor to make sure all campaigns meet 4 specific founding principles. They can be found here: https://www.lobbyists4good.org/foundingprinciples.

In short, all campaigns must 1) benefit the publics interest, 2) be started by an individual citizen, 3) have a chance of bipartisanship, 4) must be under represented (we do not want to duplicate the efforts of people who are already doing great advocacy work).

The contractor makes recommendations and we make a determination if the campaign gets to be hosted on our platform.

good_dogos11 karma

typical work day?

billydelancey23 karma

When lobbying: I would start my day researching the member of Congress who's staffer I was meeting that day. I would look for anything in the member's personal history or anything about their district that was relevant to our issue. For example, if a local church held a fundraiser for clean drinking water, I would include that in the materials we provided. Meetings on the Hill normally lasted 20 to 30 minutes, but it took most of the day to prepare. After the meeting, writing a good thank you note was important and that took up a lot of time. After work I would always try to go to networking events in DC to meet people who might be interested in our issue.

With Lobbyists 4 Good: We have not raised money to hire a lobbyist yet, so my day is spent trying to promote our platform... social media, blog, reddit AMA's, ect. When we hire lobbyists on behalf of the people, we will be doing more research and preparing documents for the lobbyists to take to their meetings.

marceronni11 karma

Do you think the world would be a better place without lobbying?

billydelancey7 karma

Yes, corporate lobbyists have perverted the system and pressured government to pass laws that benefit businesses at the expense of the people. Our solution to (help) fix this is to allow everyday people to have the same access to lobbyists as large corporations and special interest groups.

ungamed10 karma

What campaigns have clients started with your firm that met success, that you don't think would have garnered any attention at all if there was no lobbying involved?

billydelancey14 karma

Since we are new, we have only had one successful campaign. We lobbied for the US Institute of Peace and we were able to get them an extra 3 million dollars in funding to try and do conflict resolution programs in Iraq. We do not have any funding right now, and our email list is small, so we have not been able to have any successful campaigns other than the US Institute of Peace. We have one on our platform around female veterans (https://www.lobbyists4good.org/femaleveterans) that I think has the best chance of being successful if we had lobbyists working for their issue.

fiatstud9 karma

Thanks for the AMA! I’m very interested in this field.

1) Are there limits to the amount of money someone can pay you to lobby for them?

2) When lobbying Congress, did you do it independently or through a larger company?

3) Do you just meet as much as possible with congressional staffs to push your efforts?

billydelancey4 karma

  1. Yes, we limit the amount people can donate to protect us from the influence of large donors. Individuals can only donate $1,000 per person per campaign.
  2. When I lobbied Congress for water and sanitation, I was working for a nonprofit called WASH Advocates. The US Institute of Peace was done through Lobbyists 4 Good, but this was before we adopted the crowdfunding model. We had originally thought we could lobby for peace, and then we would have people vote on the next issue we lobbied for. We changed the model in Feb of 2017.
  3. That is a huge part of it, but it is more complicated. So we have the meetings, but then follow up a couple weeks before any committee hearings or markups. We also meet with committee staffers, which are different than congressional staffers who work in the personal offices. Additionally, we meet with agency officials who work in the executive branch. We have also met with influential constituents and ask them to reach out to their members and guide them what to say. For example, we almost arranged a famous country singer to speak with her Senator who was on the committee we were targeting, but it fell through at the last minute.

rocky56789 karma

Can you give a quick example of how lobbying would work?

billydelancey37 karma

Sure, I can tell you what I did for the US Institute of Peace.

I started by reading as much as I could about the agency. I learned as much as I could about what they do and the programs that they were implementing. I then researched the history of their funding, reached out to other organizations who work in the "peace" sector, and met with some staffers at the agency and asked questions.

Once I felt comfortable with the policy, I created a plan. They wanted $3 million dollars to increase their work in Iraq. I thought this was important and we could make an argument that if we spent $3 million preventing further conflict after ISIS was defeated or gone underground (at the time, ISIS was retreating and only had one stronghold left), then we could save billions of dollars in military spending.

A friend of mine (who is now a board member) arranged 10 meetings with staffers on the republican side. We tried to meet with every staffer of member's who were on the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee. They are the ones who control the budget of the Institute of Peace. When we met with them, we had 10 to 15 minutes to make our argument which we did. I brought news articles about how the groups that came together to fight ISIS were probably going to fight each other once ISIS went underground and they no longer had a common enemy. I said that if we can prevent some of these conflicts using mediation and conflict resolution through the Institute of Peace that the region would be more stable, which is in the US's interest. They thought it was a good idea and when the budget came out, there was an extra 3 million dollars that was not there the year before.

(Note: While we got $3 million that year, they also received the same amount next year, so we actually got an extra 9 million for them over a 3 year period)

keplar9 karma

What makes a person a lobbyist? What qualifications does it take? What skills or training does a lobbyist need that the average person who is knowledgeable about something and would love to talk to their congressperson's office doesn't have? How does a person become acknowledged as a lobbyist sufficiently that they can actually get those meetings, versus a person who just wants to argue for something and can't get the time of day? How does a "professional lobbyist" find work? Just spread the word and hope somebody gives them money to go talk to lawmakers?

billydelancey5 karma

person a lobbyist? What qualifications does it take? What skills or training does a lobbyist need that the average person who is knowledgeable about something and would love to talk to their congressperson's office doesn't have? How does a person become acknowledged as a lobbyist sufficiently that they can actually get those meetings, versus a person who just wants to argue for something and can

Many of the lobbyists we worked with had worked on the Hill before, but some of them are just knowledgeable about the law and about the policy governing their specific area of expertise. Most lobbyists I know have a law degree, but it is not required. So, to answer the question, you have to know the policy, and you have to be good at networking so you can build the relationships needed to be able to get access to the right people.

Or you can do what I did, start a nonprofit and just start lobbying for a cause you care about! :)

videoalex9 karma

So your solution to the problem of lobbying was to hire lobbyists? Always the guy with the hammer selling nails.

billydelancey6 karma

So our mission is not to try and solve the problem of lobbying. Our focus is to give everyday people a stronger voice in government, and we know the best way to do that is to hire somebody who knows what they are doing to do it on their behalf. We want to solve the problem of the individual who submits the campaign... does that make sense?

Muskwatch8 karma

It feels like a crowd-funded lobbyist is what a politician is supposed to be. Why is this not the case? Why aren't politicians the ones who are experts at developing relationships with their constituents?

billydelancey3 karma

Sure, we get this one a lot... Yes, that is how our representative democracy is supposed to work.

Politicians do spend a lot of time helping their constituents, which is one of the many reasons incumbents win elections when everybody hates Congress. Most hate Congress in general, but not their member of Congress.

natha1057 karma

I just wanted to say thanks for doing this (both the AMA and the platform). Reddit is a tough audience to try and sell the upsides of Lobbying to because I think it has largely bought into the notion that the government is corrupt and it was the lobbyists who corrupted it. As you know, changing a group's perceptions can be almost impossible to do. I've always found lobbying fascinating so let me ask you my question:

What's your best war story? The time you were most proud of getting an idea to click with a lawmaker.

billydelancey5 karma

Thank you so much for the comment, I really appreciate it!

I had a meeting with a Senator's office about water and sanitation and I was looking up the Senator's bio the morning of. It turned out, this particular Senator used to be the dean of a well-known university in his home state. I went to the university's website and found they had a program that sent students abroad to work on water and sanitation projects that was started when he was at the school.

The meeting started off very poorly. The senior staffer cancelled on me and sent a junior staffer instead who obviously did not know the issue and had just started in the office. But when I brought this up about the Senator's university, everything changed. He knew, because it was a personal connection to the issue, he could take it to the Senator and get a positive reaction. I got a call back later from the Senior staffer who cancelled asking for more information about the university's water and sanitation program. When we got the increased funding, we had heard that his support played a role in getting the funding we wanted.

It reminds me of the Tip O'Neil quote... "All Politics is Local"

inserthandlehere7 karma

WOW! This is awesome. As someone who used to work in public affairs (which means I worked directly with many lobbying firms) there is so much misinformation about lobbying - what it is, and who is doing it. One thing that is not debatable is the fact that hiring a lobbyist with any real influence is not cheap. Talented people, regardless of their craft, often come with a higher fee. Something like this that helps everyday people get in touch with talented policy influencers is honestly amazing. As a former public affairs professional (I no longer do anything political) there were so many times people would come to me wanting help and my advice was always that public affairs efforts are not helpful (sometimes even harmful) without a good lobbyist to give us direction. My question, given the misinformation that exists, how has the feedback been on this endeavor?

billydelancey1 karma

Thanks for this question/comment... I hope it gets upvoted above a lot of the negative misinformation that is creeping up the AMA thread.

Honestly, the feedback has been the hardest thing to deal with. You really have to have thick skin to hear some of the things people say to you on the internet.

That being said, I really appreciate seeing posts like this. Most people who have actually worked in politics or government love the idea so I have a lot of hope that it will catch on and become a valuable tool for people.

xNiiRUx7 karma

How do you sleep at night?

billydelancey7 karma

I would like to think that the work I have done in my career has saved some lives at some point. I was in the Peace Corps, worked for SNAP, and got more people around the world clean drinking water. Just because you have a negative opinion about the word lobbyist, no need to make a giant assumption about what we do.

Marshy926 karma

I think you’ve got a really cool project and hope you’ll have a positive impact. Reddit hates lobbyists, but people are often missing the forest for the trees. When I call my congressman or talk to a friend about an issue or who they should vote for, I’m lobbying. Lobbying and lobbyists are not by necessity some type of evil. The problem people blame lobbyists for really has more to do with campaign finance laws, corporate money that can be spent on lobbyists and super PACs, and voters who continue to vote in people who don’t represent or care about their interests.

Good luck with your project. By connecting people with good causes, hopefully we can begin meaningful change and have some success getting some projects through.

billydelancey2 karma

Thank you! I really appreciate your comment... I am not a frequent Redditor so this is all new to me. However, when I decided to use the word lobbyist when coming up with the name I figured it would be met with a fare share of skepticism.

VegasRaider4206 karma

Do you have plans to put in place team-members at state (or even more local) level of government, since many policies enacted federally are acid tested at the state-level?

billydelancey3 karma

Yes, this is in our plan if we are able to secure funding for our organization. Right now, we are self funded so it is not something we felt like we have the capacity to do. We are based in DC and have more experience at the federal level so it was a natural starting point. I agree with the comment below, we think we can be more effective at the state level and we hope to provide this service sooner rather than later.

limpinfrompimpin6 karma

Why are you pretending not to be part of the problem ?

billydelancey7 karma

I don't know how to respond except that I have never donated money to a congressional candidate, I have never done anything unethical when I was making a case. I was able to get multiple one-on-one meetings with congressional staffers and I made a really good argument about why they should support two great causes.

Also, have you looked at our campaigns? We are trying to pass legislation that would help female veterans, reduce ocean plastic pollution, reduce the deficit, and reform a broken food aid system.

I think the people who sit here and make an immediate judgment on something without fully understanding it are part of the problem than what we are trying to do.

SAT07256 karma

You seem to downplay the role of money in politics from a lobbyist perspective, but I'd be willing to bet if I offered just about any politician $1 million for a half-hour lunch I'd get on their schedule. True or false?

That $1 million is the difference between what corporate interests can do with lobbyists -- whatever they want -- and what everyday people can do -- which is very little. It seems to me it's 100 percent about the money.

billydelancey10 karma

Thanks for the comment.

I never meant to downplay the role of money in politics, I just want people to stop focusing on campaign contributions and start realizing that the lobbyists are the reason.

Something that makes me angry is these fundraising emails that if you pay 500,000 dollars to a party, you can have lunch and a policy discussion with the candidate. So yes, if you didn't frame the 1,000,000 donation as a bribe for their time, you could get on their schedule. It is 100% true that money buys you access, but if you do not make a good argument during that lunch you will be 1,000,000 poorer and nowhere closer to your goal.

There are better ways to influence Congress. Come up with a good argument, know the policy inside and out, and spend 40 hours a week talking to every staffer who will meet with you about why your issue is good for their district, good for national security, good for their party, and good for America. That is going to have a much better chance of working than your 1,000,000 donation.

However, who has the time to spend all day lobbying Congress? This is exactly why we started Lobbyists 4 Good. Everyday citizens do not have the access to get a 30 minute lunch, but you could start a campaign on our platform. All you have to do is raise 5,000 (which is hard, I admit, but do-able and we try to help). Then, we'll hire somebody who does this for a living to come up with a good argument, meet with staffers, and try to pass the policy.

boipussy9116 karma

Whats the most money you ever had to contribute to a single candidate? What was it for?

billydelancey4 karma

I have never donated to a Congressional candidate. I went to a fundraiser for Clinton but that was because it was a networking event, I think it was $50 per ticket and I went with my wife.

Sideshowcomedy5 karma

I feel like you lost your lobbying job and now are trying to get us to sponsor you lobbying for just whatever you feel like. Am I wrong?

billydelancey5 karma

Yes, I would not be the lobbyist. I have never wanted to be a lobbyist but always wanted to start a nonprofit if I saw an area of need. I got a job at a nonprofit that hired a lobbying firm and that is where I learned how impactful they are. The nonprofit lost its funding, and instead of trying to get another job, I decided to start this nonprofit to allow everyday people to access lobbyists.

Rainman54195 karma

How much money would the average American voter have to spend on lobbyists for the numbers to reach parity with the corporate funding you mentioned in other responses?

billydelancey6 karma

I don't know. I think lobbyists who are funded by small donors would be more impactful than a lobbyists being paid by a corporation, especially if they can show the lawmaker how many people from his or her district contributed to the campaign. Companies spend over 3 billion dollars a year on lobbyists, which is a lot of money. However, I think Americans spent over 9 billion dollars on halloween costumes last year (335 million dollars on costumes for our pets) so the money is out there it is just a matter of convincing people it is a worthwhile cause. https://nrf.com/resources/consumer-research-and-data/holiday-spending/halloween-headquarters

driplikewater4 karma

Did you ever want your name to be Bobby insteady?

So you could be a Bobbyist?

billydelancey6 karma

Hahaha... a missed opportunity.

maxwell21123 karma

If only we could get rid of all lobbyist and lawyers wouldn't the world be better off?

billydelancey3 karma

I married into a family of lawyers so I don't know, they are super nice people. My argument is that we are going to be better off if we change who has the ability to hire lobbyists... but that hasn't been very popular opinion on this reddit AMA.

Beardfrenzy3 karma

How can lobbying stop governing or corporate entities from quickly and secretively adding amendments and rewrite regulations so much so that congress slaps down California’s net neutrality like bill with not even a second thought or opposing vote ?

If they can’t, is there even a point to lobbying?

I just have trouble seeing how building relationships can stop a corrupting force from changing the rues so that opposing bills are dismissed immediately

billydelancey3 karma

That is a hard one because the telecommunications industry has hired 100's of lobbyists to work on this issue for years, so getting one lobbyist might not be the answer. But more mundane policy work happens all the time and having somebody following the amendments and markups is super important... thanks for your question!

Timbishop1233 karma

How is this different from other crowdfunded lobbying companies such as Crowdlobby?

billydelancey6 karma

There are no other platforms in the US like ours at the moment. Some have tried, but ultimately failed. There are some efforts to replicate what we are doing but they are not live yet. Plus, we are a nonprofit and 100% of your donation would go towards lobbying fees. The other efforts trying to get started would be for-profit operations where they would take a percentage of contributions.

GregorSamsaa3 karma

Would it be possible to hire a lobbyist that lobbies for legislation to no longer allow lobbyist?

billydelancey1 karma

Answered this a couple times, but you can definitely submit it on our platform. There is a long conversation about if lobbying is protected by the first amendment, which it most certainly is. Any law banning lobbying would get overthrown by SCOTUS for violating the first amendment.

squersh2 karma

Who are your 3 favorite musical artists?

billydelancey8 karma

Talib Kweli, B.O.B., Andre 3000

CHarleq2 karma

Any chance you will also crowd fund a "lobbyist" group composed of people with pitchforks and torches? -I'm up for funding that

billydelancey2 karma

Like the angry mob in the Simpsons? I do not know of any crowdfunding platform for that specific reason but I am positive there is a kickstarter project about this somewhere.

MrAce2C2 karma

What is the regular process of lobying a new law? From I'm thinking getting a relationship with congressmen to convincing them. Thanks for doing this!

billydelancey3 karma

If you find a law that you really want to support, try to get in touch with your member's staffer who deals with the issue. You can ask the front desk who it is that deals with this and find their email address pretty quickly. The first step is to get enough co-sponsors that it gets taken up in committee. This is where reaching out to the committee chair is important because they control everything that goes on in their committee. Once it gets out of committee, you have to get your member of Congress to champion the cause to leadership. If not, party leadership won't bring the new law to a vote on the full floor. Then you have to do the whole thing again in the Senate. Typically, it takes 9 years from start to finish to get a new policy passed in Congress. Appreciate your question!!