Category

General Lobbying

3 Benefits Public-Private Partnerships Have on Government Relations

By | General Lobbying | No Comments

There has been a shift in government interest relating to public-private partnerships (P3s). A P3 involves the collaboration between government agencies and private-sector companies to finance, build, and operate different projects. This typically involves critical elements of local communities, such as public transportation networks, parks, and convention centers. Many people are unaware of what public-private partnerships are, and how they can benefit local infrastructure. 

As one of the top government affairs firms in Arizona, we work hand-in-hand with government agencies and private-sector businesses. Many essential elements of Arizona’s robust communities have benefited from these public-private partnerships. 

Public-Private Partnerships Benefit from Risk Transfer

One of the most significant advantages P3s have is the transferring of financial risk from taxpayers to investors. Common risks include overrun project costs, change orders, delays, and anything else that may increase the cost of a project. In a traditional scenario, the project risks are on the financial shoulders of the taxpayer. 

The private sector is typically more amenable and motivated to assume these financial risks since it affects their bottom line. They are contractually obligated to deliver the project on-time and on-budget or face financial repercussions. Companies will have great incentives to deliver on their end of the project, while government agencies benefit from their services.

Bundling is a Huge Benefit for Local Government Projects

In a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) contract, the private sector partner is responsible for all aspects of the project. Combining these functions together into one contract is referred to as bundling. In traditional procurements, companies will bid on each individual function in order to provide their services for government projects. 

Through public-private partnerships, government agencies appreciate that the private sector is the primary company working on their projects. There is a shared interest in ensuring the project is completed in an effective and timely manner. Additionally, the private sector will be responsible for overseeing the project to meet high standards of design and construction. Poor quality of work can lead to an increase in maintenance costs and create challenges down the line. Government entities can avoid this by working with private-public partnerships to ensure a high-quality product. 

Public-Private Partnerships Enhance Capital Opportunities

Unlike traditional procurements, P3s are financed by equity and debt. Infrastructure projects are funded through government revenue and may limit the agency’s ability to raise enough capital for the project. Introducing equity not only increases the project’s potential size but also considers equity funds to deploy into the project. Equity funds include:

  • Institutional funds
  • Insurance funds
  • Pension funds
  • Private equity funds

Dorn Policy Group Can Assist in Developing Potential Partnerships

As one of the premier Arizona lobbying firms, Dorn Policy Group is proud to introduce government entities to hard-working companies. With over five decades of combined government relations experience, we know how to put our client’s best interests forward. Contact us today and learn how our knowledgeable staff can help you. 

How to Hire a Lobbyist

By | General Lobbying

Hiring a lobbyist can be a crucial step in trying to achieve a business objective or goal. By hiring a lobbyist, you can ensure that your voice will be heard and that you and your company will get a seat at the table. 

While it is true that lobbyists advocate on behalf of big corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations can also greatly benefit from their services. A lobbyist’s expertise and influence can most certainly persuade key decision-makers in favor or against legislation that directly affects your interests. 

Therefore, before taking on the process of hiring a lobbyist, it is important to understand what makes a good lobbyist, as well as what services you will receive, to ensure their qualifications align with your end goals.

 

How to Find a Good Lobbyist

When beginning the search to find an effective lobbyist for your company or organization, the first step is to make sure they serve the industry you are in. You will want to hire a lobbyist who knows the ins and outs of your industry, and understands the policy and regulations behind it. Additionally, you will want to find out their areas of expertise, as this can also vary. 

Finally, look at their overall experience, whether it be with previous clients, projects, or even previous careers. Lobbyists who were once public officials or lawmakers have a big advantage, as they possess years of insider information along with strong connections and relationships with key policymakers.  

 

Who Can Hire a Lobbyist?

There are no restrictions when it comes to who can hire a lobbyist. Corporations, small businesses, and non-profit organizations can all benefit from the skills of a lobbyist. The end goal for each lobbyist is to advocate on your behalf for or against issues that directly impact you and your business. These lobbyists can help you navigate the legislative world while communicating your position on specific issues as clearly as possible. In general, lobbyists make the process of lobbying much smoother than if you were taking it on by yourself.

 

Questions to Ask a Lobbyist

As you narrow down your candidate choices, these are a couple of questions that will be helpful to ask when selecting a lobbying firm or a single lobbyist. Asking questions can help you decide if your end goal is compatible with their expertise, making the process much simpler and straightforward.

How many staff members do you have?

This will help you get a sense of how big or small the firm is, as some lobbyists work as a one-person team while others work in firms with over 50 lobbyists.

How many clients do you currently work with?

Just like knowing how many staff are available, it is important to know how many clients they currently have. This can help you get a better understanding as to how much time, effort, and resources they have available to achieve your objective. 

What is your background?

This question will give you a better idea about their past experience, whether it is in different industries, job fields, or otherwise. Knowing the background of lobbyists can help you decide if they are a good match. 

Dorn Policy Group Will Advocate For You

As a leading Arizona-based lobbying and public affairs firm, we provide our clients with strategic counsel to advance our client’s ultimate goals. Dorn Policy Group works with all levels of government including Federal, State, County, Municipal, District, and Tribes. Contact us today to learn more about how Dorn Policy Group can help you achieve your goals.

Advocacy Versus Lobbying

By | General Lobbying | No Comments

Even though a lot of the time lobbying and advocating can work hand in hand, there are still key differences that make them separate. Therefore, it is important to understand what advocating means, what lobbying is, and how they differ from each other.

What is Advocacy?

In simple terms, advocacy means the backing and support of any sort of cause, idea, or legislation. This can be done through public campaigns educating individuals on a certain topic, sharing positive outcomes of specific issues, and the overall recommendation of issues that will be affecting certain individuals and the community around them.

What is Lobbying?

Lobbying on the other hand can be defined as the act of influencing politicians, public officials, and key policymakers in favor or against certain legislation. Not only that but it can also be broken down into two further categories.

Direct: This is what most people think of when discussing lobbying activities, having communication with policymakers in hopes for them to vote against or in favor of particular legislation.

Grassroots: This means enticing the public to contact public officials in hopes of influencing key policymakers. 

Advocacy Vs. Lobbying Examples

Here are some common examples to help distinguish between advocacy and lobbying.

Advocacy

  • Educating members of the public or politicians why a certain cause is important for the community.
  • Using social media to voice your opinion on specific issues.

Lobbying

  • Asking a member of congress to vote for or against a particular piece of legislation.
  • Using social media to ask members of the public to contact their elected officials to pass or deny current or pending legislation.

Dorn Policy Will Advocate For You

As a leading Arizona-based professional lobbying and public affairs firm, Dorn Policy Group works with all levels of government including Federal, State, county, municipal, district, and Tribal government entities. Working with both Republicans and Democrats as well as Independents, we will provide you with the best strategic counsel to advance and reach your objectives. Contact us today to get started!

Register as a lobbyist

What Are the Requirements to Register As a Lobbyist?

By | General Lobbying

Before participating in any lobbying activities, advocates should review the rules for the state or local government in which they operate in.  Under certain circumstances, advocates for an issue, cause, or organization may not need to register. The qualifications for registering as a lobbyist often depend on the statutory definition of the occupation in each state. The information a registering lobbyist must provide also varies from state to state.

 

What Are the Requirements to Register As a Lobbyist?

In order to meet the required threshold to register as a lobbyist, all of the following criteria must be met, according to Section 4 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

 

Monetary Threshold

  • Lobbying firms must file a registration for each client whose lobbying activities exceed $3,000 during a quarter
  • Organizations who use in-house lobbyists must file a single registration if the total expenses for these lobbying activities exceed $13,000 during a quarter

 

Time Threshold

If lobbying activities constitute at least 20% of an individual’s time, then this meets the time threshold to register. 

 

According to the 2 U.S.C. § 1602(7), lobbying activities are defined as “Lobbying contacts and efforts in support of such contacts, including preparation and planning activities, research, and other background work that is intended, at the time it is performed, for use in contacts, and coordination with the lobbying activities of others.”

 

More Than One Lobbying Contact

Lobbyists who have made more than one lobbying contact meet the requirement to register. This means any lobbyists who have made contact with a covered official more than once. This does not mean the number of covered officials they’ve made contact with, but rather the exchanges and forms of communications that have been made between lobbyists and officials.

 

Lobbying contact is defined by the 2 U.S.C. § 1602(7) as “Any oral or written communication (including an electronic communication) to a covered executive branch official or a covered legislative branch official that is made on behalf of a client with regard to:”

  • The formulation, modification, or adoption of federal legislation (including legislative proposals).
  • The formulation, modification, or adoption of a Federal rule, regulation, executive order, or any other program, policy, or position of the United States Government.
  • The administration or execution of a federal program or policy (including the negotiation, award, or administration of a Federal contract, grant, loan, permit, or license).
  • The nomination or confirmation of a person for a position subject to confirmation by the Senate.

 

When Do Lobbyists Need to Register?

Lobbyists should register within 45 days of meeting all required criteria under the Lobbyists Disclosure Act. Preferably, registrations should be filed once services are retained and lobbyists expect the following:

  • To make more than one lobbying contact.
  • Lobbying activities to account for more than 20% of their time working for the client.
  • Expenses to surpass the monetary threshold of $3,000 for lobbying firms and $13,000 for in-house lobbying services.

 

Disclosure of Foreign Entities

Additionally, each registration must disclose information from any foreign entity that holds at least 20% equitable ownership in the client or any affiliate of the client that is required to be reported. Furthermore, any foreign identity that directly or indirectly plans, supervises, controls, directs, finances, or subsidizes the activities of the client or affiliate of the client must also be reported by providing the following information:

  • Name of foreign entity
  • Address
  • Principal place of business
  • Any amount greater than $5,000 contributing to lobbying activities

 

Lobbying in Arizona

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona defines lobbying as the following:

  • A means to attempt to influence the passage or defeat of any legislation by directly communicating with any legislator or attempting to influence any formal rulemaking proceeding pursuant to Chapter 6 of this title or rulemaking proceedings that are exempt from Chapter 6 of this title by directly communicating with any state officer or employee.
  • A person who is otherwise required to be registered as a lobbyist for compensation pursuant to this article attempting to influence the procurement of materials, services or construction by an agency, including the Office of the Governor.

 

Information Needed to Register

Registrations filed in the State of Arizona must contain the following information for each entity.

 

Principals

  • Name and business address of the principal. 
  • Name and business address of a person who is the designated lobbyist for the principal, regardless of whether such person is engaged to lobby for compensation. 
  • Name and business address of each lobbyist for compensation or authorized lobbyist employed by, retained by, or representing the principal. 
  • For each lobbyist for compensation, designated lobbyist or authorized lobbyist that is not an individual, the name and business address of all employees of that lobbyist who lobby on the principal’s behalf.
  • Nature of the primary business or activity, issue, interest, or purpose of the principal. 
  • Duration of the engagement of any lobbyist. 
  • Description of the expenses for which each lobbyist is to be reimbursed by the principal. 
  • Listings of the state entities the lobbyist has been engaged or designated to lobby including the legislature and state agencies, boards, commissions, or councils.

 

Public Bodies

  • Name and business address of the public body. 
  • Name and business address of a person who is the designated public lobbyist for the public body, regardless of whether this person is engaged to lobby for compensation. 
  • Name and business address of each authorized public lobbyist employed by, retained by, or representing the public body. 
  • For each designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist that is not an individual, the name and business address of all employees of such. designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist who may lobby on the public body’s behalf. 
  • Description of the expenses for which each designated public lobbyist and authorized public lobbyist is to be reimbursed by the public body.

 

Lobbyists

  • Name of the lobbyist for compensation, designated lobbyist, or designated public lobbyist. 
  • Business name and address of the lobbyist for compensation, designated lobbyist, or designated public lobbyist. 
  • Statement that the lobbyist for compensation, designated lobbyist, or designated public lobbyist has read the lobbyist handbook.

 

Dorn Policy Will Advocate For You

As a leading Arizona-based professional lobbying and public affairs firm, Dorn Policy Group works with all levels of government including Federal, State, County, Municipal, District, and Tribes. Working with both Republicans and Democrats, as well as Independents, the Dorn Policy Group will provide you with the best strategic counsel to advance and reach your objectives. 

 

Contact us today to get started!

Statue holding a balancing weight to signify law and order lobbying lawyer

Differences Between Lobbyists and Lawyers

By | General Lobbying

While lobbyists and lawyers both practice law, there are quite a few key differences when it comes to comparing them. Being able to spot these differences can help you determine which route is best for you. After all, you want to be able to hire someone on your behalf to get the job done.

Additionally, both sets of groups have their own laws to uphold, and knowing these can also save you from legal and ethical problems. So, what are the main differences between lobbyists and lawyers? What are their duties and responsibilities? How can they benefit from each other?

What Is A Lobbyist?

In order to understand what the difference is between lobbyists and lawyers, first need to specify what each profession is and what they do. As explained in our previous blog post, lobbying refers to the act of influencing key policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels. They do so by taking a stance on issues that best align with their client’s goals and interests and persuading elected officials to vote in line with those stated goals. 

Lobbyists tend to specialize in certain areas and can be hired by individuals, corporations, small businesses, and firms. They can also work alone or for a lobbying firm. Furthermore, lobbyists have to register with the State and disclose their clients each quarter. 

What Is A Lawyer?

On the other hand, a lawyer is someone who advises and represents clients in legal matters. These clients can be individuals, corporations, or small businesses. A lawyer’s main focus is to protect the rights of their clients and uphold the law to the best of their capabilities. Lawyers can also specialize in certain subjects and focus their work on those areas only.

In simple terms, a lawyer is someone who upholds the law and also protects their client’s rights. A lobbyist is someone who tries to persuade key decision-makers in favor of their client’s best interests.

Can Lobbyists and Lawyers Benefit from Each Other?

Lawyers can benefit from lobbyists in the fact that they can change the law. While lobbyists cannot do this alone, their relationships allow them access to key policymakers in their effort to change certain aspects of the law. By doing so a lawyer’s job can become easier in their pursuit of upholding the law while keeping their client’s best interests in mind and protecting their rights.

Dorn Policy Group Will Advocate For You

As a leading professional lobbying and public affairs firm in Arizona, Dorn Policy Group will provide you with policy advice to meet your goals and keep your interests top of mind. Working with all levels of government, our principal staff has nearly 60 years of combined experience. We will advocate on your behalf to the people that matter. Contact us today and learn how Dorn Policy Group can help you.

How to Find the Best Government Relations Firm

By | General Lobbying

Hiring a government relations firm is a great first step in making sure your voice is heard when it comes to public policy issues that might affect your business. These firms represent a variety of interests that can range from big corporations to small businesses, educational organizations to non-profits, and individuals. Through education and advocacy, they will stop policies that might not be in your best interest. 

Since most people do not have the time or resources to maneuver through the complex world of politics, these firms are capable of doing the heavy lifting. But what should you look for before making the critical step of hiring a government relations firm? Here are some of the qualities and services you should look for in your search.

 

Qualities

Experience

It goes without saying, but you should ensure that the government relations firm has plenty of experience under their belt. Having a staff with tenure and relationships with former public officials is always a good way to tell you are in the company of people who have been there before and know how to get desirable results for you.

 

Bipartisanship 

Being able to work from both sides of the aisle is crucial in the world of politics. By being flexible and willing to work with everyone, you can establish and build relationships in an environment where things can change very quickly.

Background in Various Industries

Apart from having experience working with policy, you will want a firm that has an understanding of a variety of industries. By having a background in several issue areas, especially your industry, you can be confident over the policy being advocated for on your behalf. 

 

Services

Lobbying, Policy & Advocacy

You want a government relations firm with a track record of effectively influencing public policy decisions. They should have comprehensive and creative approaches to solving problems that might be of concern to your business or organization. 

Government Relations

Building relationships and connections are an essential part of the public policy process. By having a firm with strong ties and friendships with elected officials in all levels of government, you can rest assured knowing your concerns will be heard by the people that matter. 

 

Dorn Policy Group Will Advocate For You

As one of the leading professional lobbying and public affairs firms in Arizona, Dorn Policy Group will provide you with strategic counsel to meet your goals. We work in all levels of government including Federal, State, County, Municipal, District, and Tribal governments. With a principal staff that has nearly 60 years of combined experience working with government and political consulting, we will advocate on your behalf to the people that matter. Contact us today to learn how Dorn Policy Group can help your organization or business.

The Salt Lake city capital building government relations

What is a Government Relations Firm?

By | General Lobbying

Thomas R. Dye once said politics is about battling over scarce governmental resources and who, where, when, why, and how they obtain them. One of the ways businesses pursue the resources they need is by hiring a government relations firm. But what exactly is a government relations firm and what can they do for businesses? 

What Does a Government Relations Firm Do?

While this type of firm is very similar to a lobbyist group, they provide much more. A government relations firm provides strategic guidance for businesses and works in tandem with government offices to achieve a successful outcome. They also provide policy analysis and education about their client’s business and industry without pushing a separate agenda. 

Another type of government relations firm is a public affairs firm. This type of agency has a public relations element  to develop messages to the public to bring awareness to a specific issue. They work with clients on a variety of activities including lobbying, media engagement, advising, consulting, advocacy, and monitoring political activity.

What Can a Government Relations Firm Do For Business Owners?

According to AALEP, the potential impact a government affairs group can have on a business strategy is significant. While it varies based on the industry, it can account for between 30-50% of a company’s earnings, tax, depreciation, and amortization. 

They use their skills and resources to leverage a company’s advantages by:

  • Addressing emerging nonmarket-driven opportunities and threats
  • Shaping the structure of existing and new markets
  • Enhancing the company’s brand and reputation
  • Building a relationship between the business and its external stakeholders

Moreover, government relations firms are qualified in scanning the business nonmarket environment for opportunities and threats to benefit their clients. With their assistance, they prove to be significant in business strategy.

Let Dorn Policy Group Assist Your Business

As one of the top Arizona lobbyists, we know how important it is to be noticed by those who govern us. By partnering with Dorn Policy Group, you can rest assured knowing that you have skilled advocates looking out for your best interests. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you today.

Outside of a capital building with large white columns lobbying

Is Lobbying Good Or Bad For Democracy?

By | General Lobbying

Lobbying is the process of trying to influence key policymakers. Lobbyists will attempt to educate public officials to take a stand that best aligns with the interest of who they are representing. While it is true that big corporations spend billions of dollars on lobbying, any kind of business, large or small, can hire and benefit from a lobbyists’ extensive knowledge in a variety of subject areas. 

Anyone from big corporations to individuals and non-profits to unions can utilize lobbying services. More and more groups are hiring lobbyists to represent them and have their voices be heard. But one question remains, is lobbying good or bad for democracy? Here are a couple of reasons why lobbying is an essential part of a working government and democracy.

Lobbying Is Protected Under The First Amendment

While there is no place in the Constitution that specifically states or mentions the word “lobbying,” it is protected under the 1st Amendment, stating that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This means that the people have the right to petition the government and have their voices heard on topics that affect them.

Lobbying Gives A Voice To The Unrepresented

Most people do not have the time, resources, or skills to present themselves in front of policymakers and advocate for their interests. Lobbyists give people the opportunity to be represented in front of these public officials and get a seat at the discussion table. Lobbyists give these individuals, companies, non-profits, and worker unions a voice. Providing them with a chance to give their input, and raise their concerns regarding policies that affect them.

Lobbyist Provide Educational Insights

With over 10,000 bills presented to Congress, it is hard to imagine that policymakers are experts in every subject. Since lobbyists often specialize in specific subject areas, they can represent and articulate the interests of their clients as experts in the matter. Therefore, lobbyists can also educate and bring to light issues that public officials might be unfamiliar with, providing benefits to both parties.

Let Dorn Policy Group Advocate For You

Lobbying encourages people to participate in government and voice their concerns. With nearly 60 years of combined government experience, Dorn Policy Group can advocate on your behalf at the Federal, State, County, Municipal, District, and Tribal levels. Contact us to learn more about how to become a partner with Dorn Policy Group.

The dome of a capital building in front of a gray sky lobbyists

Why Do We Have Lobbyists?

By | General Lobbying

In 2019, the total amount of spending reached $3.47 billion, the most it’s been in almost a decade. Congressional changes continue to create opportunities for lobbying firms to use their political influence as a way to convince legislators to make decisions that benefit communities, businesses, and nonprofits. While some people may feel lobbyists are a legal form of bribery, this is simply not true and is an integral part of the political process.

What is Lobbying?

Lobbyists are a group of advocates that work with a variety of organizations and individuals to influence political decisions. This support leads to new proposals, adding amendments to existing laws, and introducing new issues to legislators. It’s important to note that it is prohibited for a lobbyist to pay a politician to secure their vote in specific matters. 

Why Do We Have Lobbyists?

As we’ve mentioned, businesses spend a large amount of money to gain access and influence policymakers. It allows them to voice their concerns and have a seat at the table when deciding on policies that could impact an organization. While many people think these interest groups only lookout for big corporations, this is not always the case.

Labor unions are a very common group that enlists the help of lobbying groups. There are cases where lobbying firms have advocated for unions to provide better safety protections and benefits for employees. They also provide a voice for small businesses and communities to have a fighting chance for and against bills that can impact them.

The government has the power to help individuals and businesses, but they also have the power to hinder it. It is the lobbyist’s job to protect the interests of their client to ensure they continue to grow and be successful. Lobbying is fundamental in today’s political landscape.

Dorn Policy Group: Arizona’s Premier Lobbyist Firm

For 20 years, Dorn Policy Group has advocated on behalf of a variety of clients in different industries. We’ve partnered with organizations relating to aerospace and education to Native American relations. Contact us today to learn how our lobbying firm will benefit you.

How to Become A Lobbyist

By | General Lobbying | No Comments

A career in lobbying can be very rewarding as lobbyists are individuals who aim to influence political decisions. Lobbyists advocate at the local, state, and federal government for issues that align with the interests of a company, organization, or individual. Having exceptional verbal and written communication skills are a must. While the path to becoming a lobbyist can vary from person to person, there are some actions that can help accelerate the process and help you be successful in your lobbying career.

Lobbyists can give a voice to businesses and individuals by making their opinions and concerns heard by key policymakers. Lobbying for specific issues does not guarantee a favorable outcome, but it does get you a seat at the table. This is important when it comes to policies and decisions that might affect you or your business.

What Is Lobbying

Plain and simple, lobbying refers to the act of influencing and persuading local, state, or federal policymakers. Whether it is in support or opposition of a certain issue, a lobbyist’s job is to advocate for the stance that will best align with the interest of the company, organization, or individual the lobbyist is representing. Having a passion and deep understanding of a specific policy area will go a long way when trying to break into the field and proving your worth to lobbying firms or elected officials. 

General Requirements

Although you can become a lobbyist in several different ways, these recommendations will help you on your journey to entering the lobbying field.

  • Bachelor’s degree – A degree in public relations, journalism, communications, political science, law, or economics are all good degrees to get started in. You can also get a degree in a field you’re passionate about and minor with a political science or law degree to get familiar with policies.
  • Internships – Internships are a great way to earn real-world experience and learn more about the legislative process. Students can work in political campaigns as a congressional aide or for any agency or group requiring legislative representation. They can also help you earn credit towards your degree. Even with all of this, internships offer you a chance to start to build your professional network.
  • Networking – One of the most important aspects of becoming a lobbyist is networking, as relationships with other lobbyists and policymakers will take you far in the field. Internships will give you exposure to this by providing you with a network of politicians, policymakers, and legislators that can lead to job opportunities once you begin your professional career. Creating and building relationships in your network will allow you to influence and persuade others during your career.

Register

Once you begin your career in lobbying you will need to complete a registration form. In this form, you will include contact details, what client you are representing, the issues you are lobbying for, and the stance. Additionally, every quarter you will fill out a report with your current contacts and lobbying activities. After you have registered, it is up to you to work independently or for a lobbying firm.

Lobbyist Certification 

Another way to quickly get into the field of lobbying is by enrolling in the lobbying certification program offered by the American League of Lobbyist, based in Washington D.C. While this certification is not required, it does give a quick overview of what the lobbying industry looks like.

Dorn Policy Group Will Advocate For You

As a leading Arizona-based lobbying and public affairs firm, we provide our clients with strategic counsel to advance our client’s ultimate goals. Dorn Policy Group works with all levels of government including federal, state, county, municipal, district, and tribal government entities. Contact us today to learn more about how Dorn Policy Group can help you achieve your goals.