Group founded to defend K Street considers dropping ‘lobbyist’ from name

Leaders of a group that has long represented the lobbying industry recommend on Monday that it remove the word “lobbyist” from its name.

During a meeting, the American League of Lobbyists (ALL) board also discussed options for a new title, according to a document obtained by The Hill.

The organization confirmed to The Hill it is “discussing a rebranding,” and is taking “baby steps” toward that goal.

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Top choices for a replacement name include The Association of Government Relations Professionals, The National Association of Government Relations Professionals and the Government Relations Professionals Association, “based on board meetings and emails,” the document says.

For more than three decades, ALL has strived to promote the lobbying industry as an above-board profession protected by the First Amendment. The group has taken the lead on crafting and advocating ethics standards for lobbyists.

Former ALL President Howard Marlowe, who owns the firm Marlowe & Company, said he was the only board member opposed to changing the group’s name.

“The board gave this rebranding issue a good deal of consideration over the past few months. I regret the outcome of those deliberations,” Marlowe wrote in an email, “but as the lone dissenter I obviously will accept it and continue the organization’s work to provide the strong voice of support that all of us in the lobbying need.”

ALL also offers several certificate programs to educate lobbyists on key issues, including campaign finance and political action committees, federal budget and appropriations, online advocacy and legislative drafting, among others.

Marlowe says members of the organization argue that the word lobbyist no longer encompasses the work of an industry that is deeply involved in campaigns and public relations.

“There are other professional associations to represent those interests,” Marlowe said.

On ALL’s website, it says that initial members of the group in 1980 “determined that enhancing the standing and reputation of lobbyists lay not in a change of terminology but in the sponsorship of meetings, events, programs, and most importantly, a set of standards that enhance the professionalism of lobbyists.”