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K Street group strikes ‘lobbyist’ from name

It’s official: The American League of Lobbyists is no more.

Members of the group have voted to change its name to the Association of Government Relations Professionals, according to an email Monte Ward, head of the organization, sent to members on Monday.

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More than 83 percent of those surveyed supported the change, more than the two-thirds vote required under the group’s bylaws.

The rebranding will be finalized on Thursday, Ward told The Hill, complete with a brand new website and logo. The logo will include a newly approved tag-line: “Voice of the Lobbying, Public Policy and Advocacy Professions,” to stay true to its founding as a voice for K Street.

“For the most part, we're looking forward to speaking as one voice for the government affairs profession,” Ward said, adding that the group hopes to further expand its membership.

Ward said he sees the newly christened trade group as one that could be “a one-stop shop” for the needs of government relations professionals — whether they work as lobbyists, grassroots campaign organizers, consultants, political action committee officials or in some combination of advocacy roles.

Mike Fulton, an ALL board member, said Ward and the board of directors will appoint “transition committee” that will “take a look at all facets of membership, recruitment, how different communities fit into the government affairs industry, without ignoring the lobbying professionals.”

The name change comes at a time when many on K Street shy away from the term “lobbyist,” due to the negative connotations it has amassed over time.

The name change has been a months-long process, first initiated by the group’s leadership in September, when they voted to consider a new name.

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.”

Monte and Fulton emphasized that its mission of promoting the “highest ethical standards” for the industry would remain the same, but said the group needed to evolve.

“We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t change the name and didn’t make the tent bigger for other people to be included,” Fulton told The Hill on Monday.