Interest Groups and Lobbyists: Sources of Information
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Lobbyists and interest groups play an active role in the American legislative process. Information
on lobbyist registrations and on interest groups in general is available from a variety of online and
printed sources, including files available for public inspection.
This report is a guide for locating governmental sources that maintain files on lobby groups, their
registrations, and finances. Also included in this report are nongovernmental sources that offer
background information on the lobbyists and interest groups who focus on legislation in
Washington. Many of the works listed are available to congressional staff in the Jefferson and La
Follette Congressional Reading Rooms, CRS research centers, and to constituents in large public
and research libraries.
This report will be updated yearly or if current lobbying regulations are changed by Congress.
Current legislative proposals related to lobbying disclosure are discussed in CRS Report
RL34008, Lobbying Reform Legislation: Side-by-Side Analysis of Lobbying Provisions in S. 1 th
and H.R. 2316, 110 Congress, by Jack Maskell.
The Lobbying and Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA), P.L. 104-65, 109 Stat. 691 (1995) as amended
by the Lobbying Disclosure Technical Amendments Act, P.L. 105-166, 112 Stat. 38 (1998),
requires lobbyists to register with the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate and to make
semiannual reports of their activities. These reports identify the name of the registrant (firm or 1
individual), client, and broad issue area in which lobbying was carried out.
Both the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate receive and
maintain the lobby registrations and semiannual disclosure reports of those filing as lobbyists
under the LDA. The offices also maintain the records previously required under the Federal
Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946. That law was repealed by the LDA.
Clerk of the House of Representatives
Legislative Resource Center
B106 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0515
The filings beginning with 1989 to present are available for public inspection at the location
given above. The House website http://lobbyingdisclosure.house.gov/ provides information about
the records but does not provide online access to the records themselves.
Secretary of the Senate
Office of Public Records
232 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-7116
The Senate Office of Public Records provides onsite access to the public to filings beginning with
1996 at the location given above. The filings beginning with 1998 are available on its website at
FARA Registration Unit Public Office
U.S. Department of Justice
FARA Registration Unit
1400 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 100
1 A “client” is defined under LDA as any person or entity that employs and compensates another person to conduct
lobbying activities on behalf of that person or entity. A coalition or association may also be listed as a client. LDA does
not require information on the specific membership of these groups to be disclosed. Some observers suggest that this
could allow entities to shield their lobbying activities through the use of ostensibly separate, independent coalitions and
associations. Consequently, when the client is an association or coalition, the interested parties may not be identified in
LDA disclosure reports. For further information, see CRS Report RL31126, Lobbying Congress: An Overview of Legal
Provisions and Congressional Ethics Rules, by Jack Maskell.
Washington, DC 20005
The Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit receives registrations
and financial information of agents representing foreign governments or political parties in the
United States as required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended. The
records can be inspected by the public at the above address. Online lobbyist registrations can be
accessed at http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fara/links/search.html. Currently FARA semiannual
reports to Congress available online date back to1997, and the most recent one is dated December
GPO Access User Support Team
Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
732 North Capitol Street, N.W., Mail Stop: SDE
Washington, DC 20401
(202) 512-1530; main GPO telephone (866) 512-1800
GPO Access provides online access to the Congressional Record Index, which can be used to
search for pre-1996 lobbyist registrations at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cri/index.html. Also
available are the full texts of many legislative resources, including the Congressional Record.
Legislative Information System (LIS)
User Support can be obtained by calling:
CRS Hotline: (202) 707-7100
Senate Library (202) 224-7106
House Call Center (202) 225-6002
GAO Library (202) 512-2585
LIS is the legislative and congressional information system available to the Capitol Hill Intranet
users at http://www.congress.gov. It provides access to a variety of academic, commercial, and
governmental information sources. Among its contents is the full text from 1989 to present of the
Congressional Record, in which periodic listings of lobbyists registrations were printed before
American League of Lobbyists (ALL)
P.O. Box 30005
Alexandria, VA 22310
The American League of Lobbyists is a membership group of registered lobbyists and other
professionals interested in lobbying. It works to improve the public image of lobbyists, monitors
lobby legislation, and conducts educational programs on the role of lobbyists. The ALL website
can be accessed at http://www.alldc.org.
The Capital Source. Washington, National Journal Group, Inc. (Annual)
This directory provides limited coverage of government, media, and corporate officials. Its
sections on interest groups, trade and professional associations, and political consulting and
lobbying firms list some Washington-based lobbying groups, with contact information and
executive directors’ names. The list is arranged alphabetically by the name of the lobbying firm
and does not contain areas of specialties.
Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) th
1101 14 Street, N.W., Suite 1030
Washington, D.C. 20005-5635
This website (http://www.opensecrets.org/lobbyists/index.asp) provides access to Influence, Inc.,
CRP’s annual lobbying report. It gives year-to-year comparisons of lobbying spending on Capitol
Hill, background on the issue, lists of top spenders, and includes the political spending patterns of
various industries. It also gives an industry-by-industry spending breakdown and has a searchable
database of individual lobbyists, lobbying firms, and client businesses.
Encyclopedia of Associations. Farmington Hills, MI, Gale Group. (Annual)
This multi-volume listing of nonprofit American membership organizations of national scope is
arranged by broad categories. It gives details on the location, size, objectives, and other aspects of
some 22,000 trade associations, professional societies, interest groups, labor unions, and fraternal
and patriotic organizations. It contains name, geographical, executive, and keyword indexes.
Government Affairs Yellow Book: Who’s Who in Government Affairs. Washington, Leadership
Directories, Inc. (Semiannual)
This directory profiles more than 22,000 government affairs experts who represent the interests of
businesses, professional organizations, interest groups, and government institutions before
federal, state, and local governments. Private organizations are listed alphabetically. Federal
government organizations are listed alphabetically by department, and by agency. State, city, and
county government sections are organized alphabetically by state, city, and county names,
respectively. Each listing gives the organization’s name; address; contact; organizational
description; any political action committee; the Washington, DC, office’s address and telephone
number; lobbying firms representing the group on the federal, state, and municipal levels; and
other pertinent details. This extensive listing provides subject, geographical, name, and
organization indexes. Government Affairs Yellow Book is available online to subscribers as part of
The Leadership Library on the Internet. This online resource that is updated daily can be accessed
Legal Times: Law and Lobbying in the Nation’s Capital. Washington, Legal Times, part of
American Lawyer Media, Inc. (Weekly)
This newspaper has articles on Washington’s law and lobbying communities. In June 2000, Legal
Times launched its biweekly newsletter, Influence: The Business of Lobbying. It focuses on the
business of lobbying, ranging from firm assignments and earnings to business strategies and
mergers. Influence can be found on the Web as Influence Online at http://www.influence.biz. It
has detailed lobby firm profiles and same-day reporting on new lobby registrations. Several
portions of this electronic resource are available only to subscribers, such as a biweekly
newsletter, 24-hour access to Influence Online, and e-mail alerts on the latest registrations and
P.O. Box 933
Dayton, OH 45401-0933
Lexis-Nexis subscribers have access to full-text coverage of the Congressional Record, which can
be searched online for lobbyist registrations filed from1985 to1996 at http://www.lexisnexis.com.
National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States. Washington, Columbia
Books, Inc. (Annual)
This directory lists more than 7,500 trade associations, labor unions, professional societies, and
similar national groups. Many have offices in Washington, DC, that lobby on federal legislation
of interest to their members. Among the details provided for each group are its annual budget, a
brief history, and dates and sites of its annual conventions. It contains subject, geographic,
budget, executive, and acronym indexes.
Public Interest Group Profiles. Washington, Congressional Quarterly, Inc. (Biennial)
This selective guide to more than 200 public interest and policy groups has been compiled by the
Foundation for Public Affairs, which maintains a national, nonpartisan clearinghouse on public
interest groups and corporate public affairs programs cooperatively with the Public Affairs
Council. Each group’s profile includes basic details, as well as ratings of effectiveness and
political orientation. Profiles are grouped into 12 subject categories.
Washington. Washington, Columbia Books, Inc. (Annual)
This work provides information on nearly 5,000 businesses, government agencies, national
associations, international and national affairs organizations, law firms, and cultural organizations
in the Washington, DC, area. It is arranged by broad subject categories, with brief listings of key
officials in each entry. It also has a “National Affairs” section, which is a selective list of
nonprofit activist organizations and special interest lobbying groups in the Washington area.
Washington Information Directory. Washington, Congressional Quarterly, Inc. (Annual)
This guide to Washington, DC, area governmental and private organizations is arranged in 20
broad subject areas. Under each area, pertinent federal departments and agencies, congressional
committees, and private nonprofit organizations are listed.
Washington Representatives. Washington, Columbia Books, Inc. (Annual)
This is a list of 17,000 Washington contacts of U.S. trade associations, professional societies,
labor unions, corporations, and various special interest and public interest groups. This source has
three main sections: the firms and the organizations they represent, the clients being represented,
and the people who work for the firms or the listed organizations. In addition, Washington
Representatives has four indexes. The first index is organized by clients by subject/industry. The
second index helps the user to research foreign clients by country. The third index provides
information on PACs (political action committees). The fourth index guides the user in the
legislative areas and provides help in identifying clients and firms working in particular
legislative issues. Washington Representatives can be accessed online at
http://www.lobbyists.info. However, the searchable database is only available to subscribers.
J. Michael Anderson
Information Research Specialist
This report was originally authored by Mari-Jana “M-J” Oboroceanu, who no longer covers this issue.