Stefan Hankin's avatar image.

Founder of Lincoln Park Strategies, Trendency Research, and Cube Root Data

My name is Stefan Hankin, I work with corporate, non-profit, advocacy, and political clients to better position them for success.

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  • How much of an influence should lobbyists have on political candidates?

    Do you think that politicians should refrain from obtaining funds and donations from lobbyists so that their views aren't swayed?

    Stefan Hankin's avatar image.

    The challenge becomes determining what is a lobbyist. I believe most people don't like the idea that a group can have undue influence on an elected official. However, when we think about this, people tend to envision a lobbyist who represents something we don't like. Big tobacco, big oil, or [insert issue you care about], however we don't have a problem it is an issue we care about, say someone pushing for stronger environmental regulations.

    Our research also has shown that people tend to care more when the influence could make a politician change their mind. Again this tends to be viewed through the lens of moving to the side of the issue that a person disagrees with, however voters tend to have less of a problem if a politician receives money from groups that they have always supported. It is when behavior seems to change because of the money.

    Our campaign finance system is a hot mess, and we need to be bringing more sunlight into who is giving what to whom, but saying lobbyists can't give money will just divert money to other places.