So, it is June 3rd, my parents have just left and I’m all moved in to my intern dorm at George Washington University. Tomorrow will be my first day working at The Roosevelt Group and I’m extremely excited, but also a bit nervous. The Roosevelt Group is a defense lobbying group located near the U.S. Capitol Building and it is their job to help military base communities and private defense contractors exert influence over relevant legislation. Lobbying is one of the most controversial practices in the United States. Economists view lobbyists as rent-seekers (people who produce nothing of value, yet make money off of the relevant processes), a large portion of the American public thinks lobbying is all about asserting the interests of corporate America over that of ordinary citizens, and lobbyists themselves say that lobbying is about facilitating cooperation between the public and private sector and that if not for the work that they do, our government would be even more dysfunctional. Most likely, there are grains of truth to each of these claims and it is my hope that after this internship concludes, I’ll be able to paint a much more accurate picture of lobbying. Last summer, I interned for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and got somewhat of an insiders point of view on the way elected officials influence public policy and this summer I hope to gain greater perspective on how private actors affect public policy. Presently, I am not so cynical as to believe that all lobbying is inherently evil, nor am I so naïve as to believe that all lobbying is benign or benevolent. In addition to better informing my worldview, I hope to meet interesting people, better position myself for a career in politics or government, and have as much fun in D.C. as I can!
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