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Unit 1: 
Who are Lobbyists and What Motivates Them?
 

Unit 1:  Who are lobbyists & what motivates them?
Unit 2:  Turkey's image abroad
.
Unit 3:  History of Turkish communities worldwide & reasons for a weak Turkish lobby.

Unit 4:  National & ethnic interests: Anti-Turkey lobbies, misrepresentation of facts & defamation
.
Unit 5:  The Turkish lobby dilemma in the United States as a case study.
Unit 6:  Problems encountered by Turkish lobbies in the EU, Germany, France & worldwide.
Unit 7:  Current Turkish lobby issues & the role of public diplomacy.
Unit 8   What can be learned from powerful lobbies such as the Jewish/Pro-Israel lobby?
Unit 9   New approaches to educating & informing Turkish lobbying groups.
Unit 10  Media relations, advertising & professional communications skills.
Unit 11  Initiatives for individuals & public speaking.
Unit 12  Initiatives for communities, campaigns, & NGO'S.
Unit 13: Fund-raising, public relations, & what can be done domestically.
Unit 14: Turkish lobbies undergo a period of transition: The need to strengthen old & new leadership.
Unit 15: Long-term strategies & lobbying in the post-September 11 era.

I. OUTLINE FOR UNIT 1:  Who are lobbyists and what motivates them?

  1. Understanding the role of interest group politics within the broader political system.
        a. Definition of lobbying.
        b. History of lobbying.
        c. The strategic use of information.
        d. Laws and regulations governing lobbying.
        e. Campaigns, politics, and money.

    2. The role of lobbies in a democracy.
        a. Better representation of a wide range of interests.
        b. Threats to the public interest? Misleading lobbying activities & misinformed decision-makers.
        c. Russia & NGO Regulation
See Example: Russia NGO law
The Russian NGO law imposes a new and stricter regime for the several hundred thousand NGOs operating in Russia. In the name of protecting Russian national interests and security, the law allows for investigations into the NGOs’ political leanings, sources of funding, and overall adherence to Russian national policy.

II. EXERCISE, ACTIVITIES & PROJECTS

The first thing to do before you begin this course is to take a minute right now and get a pen and paper. Write down all the inaccurate news and information you have heard about Turkey. Include negative images and why you think these images and inaccuracies have arisen.

BASICS OF LOBBYING  (click here)

See 
Proposals for Ethics Office -- Lobbying Laws Enforcement & Reform
1) A Senate committee rejects bipartisan proposal to establish an independent office to oversee the enforcement of congressional ethics and lobbying laws, signaling a reluctance in Congress to strengthen enforcement of its rules on lobbying.
2) Pro-Israel Lobbying Group Roiled by Prosecution of Two Ex-Officials.
3
) Love of country led Sibel Edmonds to become a translator for the F.B.I. following 9/11. But everything changed when she accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals.
 

See United States: ETHICS & LOBBYING REFORM (click here)

See European Union: ETHICS & LOBBYING REFORM (click here)

See USA: HISTORY OF WASHINGTON SCANDALS  (click here)

Study the following web sites:
1) The American League of Lobbyists  www.alldc.org
2) Public Campaign: Clean Money, Clean Elections  www.publicampaign.org (see links)
3) Center for Responsive Politics  www.opensecrets.org
4) Center for Public Integrity  www.publicintegrity.org
5) Alliance for Better Campaigns  www.bettercampaigns.org

As you work through the course, we suggest that you follow these guidelines:
Read as many papers as you can regularly, and follow all the radio and television programs that you can.
Optimize your use of the Internet so that you receive valuable and carefully selected information on a daily basis.
Learn the key phrases and keywords of each unit (see glossary). 

III. QUESTIONS

How does money effect the ideal of equality of opportunity to serve in public office? Is the candidate who spends the most, the one who usually wins? What is the role of hard work, an efficient campaign organization, and effective campaign techniques?
Representative democracy is based on majority rule. If political equality is the essence of democracy, is there a conflict between political freedom and political equality due to improper influence?
Power is not distributed equally in society. Who are the powerful circles in society and what factors, other than money, determine the degree of their power?
Is there any truth to the claim that campaign contributions can "buy" politicians, lawmakers, policymakers, or their votes? Are regulations to limit the influence of big money in politics working?
What are ethical lobbying practices and is there a code of ethics in most countries?
In what instances can the influence and contributions of special interest groups be dangerous?
How do you describe the relationship between the freedom to spend and the right to freedom of speech as part of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?
Is public trust eroding around the globe? Are elections perceived as for sale? What are some recent global scandals?
Is it possible that the technological revolution, combined with intensified lobbying activities, could damage democratic systems if these systems fail to develop ways of verifying the accuracy of the material that is provided to lawmakers?
If the public is indifferent and not engaged, who will hold government officials accountable?
When can legislators trust lobbyists and rely on their "expertise" which is based on their area of "special" interest? (Remember, lobbies strategically use information to achieve their goals. Whenever lobbies have information that is presented to uninformed lawmakers, there is a chance lawmakers can be mislead and manipulated).

IV. BACKGROUND MATERIAL

Brief definition of lobbying: Advocacy of a point of view, either by groups or individuals. The definition of a lobby and the activity of lobbying is a matter of differing interpretation. One definition of lobbying is limited to direct attempts to influence lawmakers by direct contact in order to influence the passage or defeat of legislation. Another definition of lobbying includes indirect attempts, such as grassroots advocacy (grassroots activities may attempt to shape public opinion that is favorable to a desired legislative goal--or against it--by encouraging members of a group to gather in public, to call or write to their representative, or to visit their district representative or state senator).

  • Lobby: (used as a verb) "To lobby" means to apply pressure, present arguments, or other incentives to try to make a political decision-maker favor the position of the lobby. "To lobby" means to try to influence or convince lawmakers or governmental bodies to take a specific action.
  • Lobby: (used as a noun) As a noun, a "lobby" is an organized collection of people with similar concerns who join together for the purpose of influencing government policy. Many of these groups seek to promote legislation, or political action, or to change public opinion in order to promote their own ideas, interests, agenda, and welfare. Lobbies carry out the function of "interest articulation." The activity they are engaged in is known as "lobbying." A lobby is often called an "interest group," or sometimes a "special interest group," or a "pressure group." Lobbies can also be referred to as "ethnic interest groups," "organized interests," and "single interest groups." These groups strategically use and transmit information to achieve their goals (activities can be nationwide, local, global, or within the EU). There are different types of lobbying such as legislative lobbying and media lobbying, as well as different targets such as the general public or think-tanks. The definition of a lobby, and the activity of lobbying sometimes is a matter of differing interpretation. A lobby can mean a group, person, or firm which is registered to lobby in the U.S., or a lobby can mean an informal organization of people. One definition of lobbying is limited to direct attempts to influence lawmakers by direct contact and face-to-face meetings with lawmakers in order to influence the passage or defeat of legislation. This includes communication with any member or employee of a legislative body or government official who may participate in the formulation of the legislation. Another definition of lobbying includes indirect attempts, such as grassroots pressure and mobilization, coalition building, advertising, public relations, the use of mass media, and electronic lobbying. Indirect lobbying and supporting political campaigns can be done by various groups such as corporations, trade associations, professional associations, unions, governmental organizations, policy institutes, NGO's, and non-profit organizations. This includes interrelated strategies and multiple-target advocacy and pressure (a combination of direct influence and the public arena). The most effective type of lobbying is all-directional lobbying, or multiple-target advocacy and pressure (a combination of direct influence and targeting the public arena). This requires interrelated strategies. There is ongoing debate over whether lobbies serve the public interest because they are often representing interests seeking objectives and outcomes that benefit narrow sectors in society. They have also been criticized for the selective information they sometimes transmit to pressure members of Congress. The plural of the word lobby is "lobbies." A "lobbyist" is a person, or firm, employed by a particular interest to lobby law makers or governmental bodies. Targets of  influence are sometimes called lobbying contacts.
  • Lobby (Turkish lobby USA): The general definition of the Turkish lobby consists of two lobbying groups. The first group is made-up of  lobbyists in Washington, D.C. that are hired by the Turkish government. The other group refers to the Turkish-American community in the U.S., which is estimated to be somewhere between 300,000-400,000. It is estimated that only 50,000 to 80,000 Turkish-Americans vote in the U.S. elections. The community is represented by many Turkish-American organizations which have been established in different states of the U.S. (these associations are based on different interests, such as cultural, business, medical, scientific, or educational). In 1979, when the Assembly of  Turkish American Associations (ATAA) was established in Washington, D.C., many Turkish-American organizations became members, enabling the ATAA to act and serve as an umbrella organization. The ATAA has represented the Turkish community in the capital, in federal and state governments, and interacted with the media and the pubic. Because a large percentage of Turkish-Americans live in the northeastern U.S., especially near New York State, the Federation of Turkish American Associations (FTAA), based in New York City, has been active in coordinating grassroots activities. The Turkish-American community can be divided into two groups: those who have come from the Turkish Republic, and those who have come to America from areas outside Turkey, such as Cyprus, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The estimated figure of these groups combined is 500,000-600,000 (only a small percentage are U.S. citizens, but are often referred to as Turkish-Americans).
  • Lobbying: To conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials on legislation. Hired lobbyists, foreign agents, grassroots movements, and other efforts by an organized collection of people with similar concerns can participate in lobbying for the purpose of influencing government policy and public opionion.

  • Lobbying (USA): The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1994, increased the disclosure requirements for lobbyists operating in the U.S. Lobbyists must register with the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate, depending on the type of  lobbying they conduct. The disclosure also makes public the areas in which a lobbyist works for a client, who the client is, and how much the lobbyist is paid for his work. Lobbyists are required to register under the law if: 1) they receive more than $5,000 from a client for lobbying over a six-month period; 2) they have frequent contacts with congressional staff, members, or executive branch officials; 3) and more than 20% of their time working for a client involves lobbying. Any group that has its own lobbyists in-house must register once expenses on lobbying exceed $20,500 in six months. A person, or a firm, who conducts lobbying on behalf of a foreign government, and who represent the interests of foreign countries on Capitol Hill, or with the executive branch, is known as a "foreign agent." They are subject to disclosure regulations under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which falls under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department. Foreign commercial interests that meet all the criteria under the U.S. Lobbying Disclosure Act must register with the House or the Senate. Click here for more information.
  • Lobbying (EU): Lobbying in the U.S. seeks to promote or secure the passage of legislation in Congress, but lobbying targets can be members of a legislative body anywhere in the world, such as representatives of the European Union (it should be noted that despite the co-decision procedure, the European Parliament is not fully authorized to make laws and works as a colegislature with the EU's Council of Ministers). Because many European Union institutions and bodies are located in Brussels, most European-wide lobbying organizations have their headquarters there. Brussels-based lobbying has been attracting attention since the 1990's. Corporations, PR firms, trade associations, commercial and industrial interests, consumer protection organizations,  human rights groups, animal welfare activists, aid organizations, and single-issues lobbies all have representative offices in Brussels. The emergence of new technologies has also made NGO's aware of how important the battle for public opinion is, as they compete for media attention in order to communicate effectively with EU citizens and the world. Despite the growth of professional lobbying firms in Brussels, their impact on decisions and how they operate have not been extensively examined. Although the European Commission has a list of hundreds of bodies it consults, there is no official register of recognized lobbies (or pressure groups) that is produced by the Commission or European Parliament. According to CONECCS (Consultation, the European Community and  Civil Society) over 1,000 interests groups are active. Yet over 10,000 (perhaps up to 20,000) people are believed to be engaged in "interest representation," the majority being business groups. The Commission sometimes funds these bodies and actively works with them to encourage cultivating loyalties to the European level. Many lobbying firms are hired to monitor developments in a particular EU subject-area, to enable access to decision-makers, arrange meetings, suggest contacts, and assist in advocacy of a case. Click here to view accredited lobbyists to the European Parliament.
  • Lobbyist: A lobbyist is a person, or firm, that advocates a specific policy, measure, or point of view to an elected lawmaker or governmental body. A lobbyist attempts to influence voting on legislation, or the decisions of government administrators. Lobbyists are employed by a particular interest "to lobby" and use many methods to influence their targets. A lobbyist is sometimes called a lobbyer. The people involved in "lobbying" activities depends on the definition of lobbying that is used, and whether the definition includes indirect lobbying activities and targeting the public. Lobbyists must register with the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate, depending on the type of  lobbying they conduct.  Professional lobbyists are paid to actively pursue the interests of the group they are working on behalf of (for example the Turkish government has regularly hired lobbyists, most recently the Livingston Group in Washington D.C., to supplement the official embassy representation. This lobbying firm is headed by a former Republican Congressman from Louisiana, Bob Livingston. The Livingston Group in 2002 merged with The Solomon Group). According to some estimates, there are between 15,000-40,000 active lobbyists working in Washington at every level of government.

In the U.S., lobbying is an activity protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees against interference with freedom of speech and the right to petition the government: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech...or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Lobbying is viewed as a necessary part of the U.S. democratic political process. Many believe that the more lobbying groups there are, the better the representation of a wide range of interests. It is also believed that lobbying ensures that the government is responsive to public concerns not just at election time, but also between elections. Therefore, the increasing number of lobbies is positive, and a sign of the further democratization of American politics. However, the critics of the proliferation of interest groups argue that lobbies pose a strong threat to democratic values. It can be argued that interest groups have lost sight of the public good, and that they may be a threat to democracy.

The term "lobbyist" came into usage in the 19th century, and was first used in Britain. There are different stories about its origin, but several versions describe how individuals spent hours waiting for lawmakers in areas known as a "lobby." Lobbies have been part of American history ever since Benjamin Franklin appealed to the British parliament to remove a tax on stamps in 1757. Thus, even before America became a nation, the Pennsylvania colonial assembly sent Franklin to England to lobby legislators not to pass the Stamp Act (a tax for official seals on newspapers and legal documents that colonists would have to pay). In some countries there has not been a well-established tradition of lobbying, and there is no single word for lobbying. The French commonly refer to a lobby as a "groupe de pression" or "groupe d'intérêt," while Turks have adopted the English word lobby. The profession of lobbying is not well understood in many parts of the world, and there are efforts being made, particularly in the U.S. to promote the legitimate profession of lobbying and the activities of lobbyists. Lobbying often raises suspicions because of the perceived manipulation of government officials and the potential for abuse, bribery, corruption, and conflicts of interest. The negative image the pubic has of lobbies has been reinforced by scandals and stories of political favors. No party, or country seems to be immune to individuals or groups who seek to manipulate public officials, and the perception that elections are unfair is common across the globe. As campaign finance scandals erupt in different affluent and stable democracies throughout the world, global political and economic trends are causing voters to lose confidence in their political systems. Helmut Kohl, Ehud Barak, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, and Boris Yeltsin are just some of the names involved in alleged and proven scandals. However, despite the fact that scandals frequently make headline news, it does not mean that lobbyists do not follow the rules. The vast majority of lobbyists have good knowledge of what they can, or cannot do (the American League of Lobbyists is one example of a non-profit group that works to explain lobbying regulations and the profession in a more positive light).

Lobbies are often made up of full-time paid professionals, but there are also volunteer independent lobbyists, such as individuals who act as lobbyists and lobby members of Congress (this site refers to them as citizen lobbyists). Any citizen of the U.S. can lobby members from a specific district, and in this manner assist Washington-based professional lobbies. Ordinary citizens often plan "Lobby Days" on Capitol Hill when they organize large groups to travel to Washington from around the country. These days are usually planned around an organization's annual conference. This type of "grassroots" lobbying does not have to be registered. Such events also help Washington lobbyists develop a grassroots network. In addition to converging on the Capitol, the members of these groups tend to meet in smaller groups with members from their congressional district, or state delegation, to press the cause of their lobby.

The proliferation of lobbying and consulting firms demonstrates the increasing professionalism of electoral politics, and of the lobbying industry. Registered lobbyists, now numbering more than 20,000 in Washington, have been strengthened by technological developments, such as computers and the Internet. According to some reliable estimates, there are as many as 80,000 professional lobby agents working in Washington at every level of government., many of whom are not registered and prefer to call themselves "legislative consultants." Since the late 1980's, powerful full-service lobbying companies, known as "mega-lobbying firms," have also emerged on the lobbying scene. Some of the well-known names are Arnold and Porter's Apco Associates, and Hill and Knowlton. These full-service lobbying companies often charge millions of dollars, in contrast to firms which provide a smaller range of services. It is often the case with big companies that political insiders, or celebrity consultants, introduce the client to the firm, but the lobbying efforts are undertaken by lesser-known employees. In some cases, smaller lobbying firms might be preferred because they are better suited for furthering certain objectives. Many clients believe that their interests and aims can be better understood and implemented by a smaller firm, and more personalized service. Another controversial issue arises from the fact that these profit-making firms often do not have a base, or interest, in the constituency of the lawmaker.

Retiring members of Congress, and staff members, often become the most sought after lobbyists and consultants due to their fresh connections, insider knowledge, networks of associates, and their understanding of legislative strategy. Some of their activities are referred to as "insider lobbying," because of their connections to elected and appointed officials. Under a 1995 law, these individuals face limited restrictions on lobbying former colleagues (i.e. former Congressmen and administration officials are not allowed to directly lobby colleagues for one year after leaving office). Another advantage these sought after lobbyists have is that former members of Congress are allowed on the Senate and House floors. Some critics charge that these individuals exploit their period of public service in order to earn large sums of money. They also charge that these potential lobbyists may be attempted to appease corporate interests while they are in power so as to ensure that they are offered good positions (calling this "deferred bribery"). These and other issues are a source of debate on whether the political process and democracy are being corrupted.

Lawmakers can exercise their own policy judgment, or defer to the preferences of constituents, while being influenced by grassroots mobilization, face-to-face meetings, lobbying campaigns, public relations activities, and advertising.

Different lobbies lobby on behalf of corporate interests, heath care, tax policy, foreign policy, oil and gas, defense, abortion, gun control, lawyers, pharmaceutical interests, insurance, realtors, manufacturers, farmers, veterans, Cuban-exiles, environmental watch groups, unions, women's rights, gay rights, ideological issues, the handicapped, historic preservation, elderly persons, food safety... and on almost every conceivable issue (links to some organizations are below). The executive branch itself lobbies members of Congress for support, as do state and local governments, either individually or through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Council of State Governments, or other umbrella organizations.

Lobbying basically involves preparation, information, and communication. The various services offered by lobbyists include: contacting officials, legal knowledge, research and advice, issues and legislation monitoring, economic and political consulting, grassroots lobbying, coalition building, public relations, media strategies, advertising, fund-raising, event planning, developing indirect lobbying strategies, polling, direct mail, hiring experts such as lawyer-lobbyist specialists, and training staff with communications and technical skills.

Many ethnic lobbies focus on monitoring the activities of competing lobbies, educating government officials, daily analysis of legislation, gathering information about the previous positions taken by officials, attending congressional or regulatory hearings, working with coalitions interested in the same issues, and gathering relevant information quickly so as to effectively communicate developments. In addition to the education of government officials, educating other key individuals, opinion leaders, business circles, and the general public is also a priority. The separated and fragmented system of government in the U.S. offers different access points to ethnic lobbies, from school boards, city councils, legislative assemblies, executive departments and agencies, to state and federal courts.

Lobbying can therefore be seen as educating. Lawmakers often rely on lobbyists for up-to-date and detailed information in specific areas. It is in the public's interest that the information provided will enable informed decision-makers to make the best decision. But, there are many ongoing debates about how certain misleading lobbying activities may have caused damage to the public (such as by the tobacco industry). It is increasingly being emphasized that it is in the public's interest to monitor whether public officials are making fair and informed decisions, and whether they are taking into consideration the views and information presented from a broad range of groups. Without ensuring that all aspects of an issue are debated, good government policies can not be formulated. A worrying situation in the U.S. (especially due to the controversy over the reasons the U.S. went to war in Iraq) concerns the issue of how badly informed, or misleadingly informed, officials affect policy-making. In addition, because of the increase in the flow of information, legislators and their staff have difficulty in being informed in a fair manner concerning all sides to an issue. Furthermore, the issues before Congress are increasingly complex and varied. Since lawmakers cannot be an expert on every topic, there is growing concern that they can be misinformed and badly educated by lobbies. Although policymakers and legislators require credible information, their dependence on lobbies, who may or may not provide a fair and balanced view, can threaten the fundamental principles of democracy.

In many cases, the material and information that is presented to lawmakers by anti-Turkish lobbies is not verified, although the interests of the American people should require all information be subject to verification. European parliamentarians are faced with the same problem of a lack of verification. It is also difficult to ensure that decision-makers have information from a variety of objective and unbiased sources. Furthermore, investigations are not regularly conducted to determine if deliberate attempts have been made to mislead lawmakers. The media has an important role to play here as an invaluable check on the power of lobbies, since revelations can easily damage the image of a pressure group in the eyes of politicians or the public. In order to protect the public interest, no ethnic group or lobby should be allowed to misrepresent the facts with impunity. Investigations could discourage the use of disinformation, and the media could reveal strategies that may be employed at the local, state, and federal levels. The lack of public interest, lack of media attention, and lack of public inquiries allows decision-makers to be unaccountable, knowingly or unknowingly, and remain open to manipulation by inaccurate information and propaganda. In the eyes of the Turkish lobby and Turkey, members of the U.S. Congress and European parliamentarians appear tolerant to disinformation. A greater number of inquires would not only lead to better policy-making, but also to legislation as a result of recommendations.

Lobbying strategies include proactive and counteractive strategies. Under a proactive strategy, a group presents information in an effort to change a lawmaker's policy position. Under a counteractive strategy, a lobby presents information in an effort to prevent an opposing group from changing the lawmaker's position. When a group selects a strategy, it must anticipate what opposing groups will do. Strategies can focus on the accuracy of the information presented by one side, and whether there is evidence of the misrepresentation of facts. A good strategy by a lobby should be able to uncover and launch an investigation of any deliberate misrepresentation, misleading claims, or unfounded allegations. Encouraging the public to demand to know the sources of misleading information is in the interests of a healthy democracy. The use of such strategies would reveal unreliable lobbies, and discourage lobbyists from misrepresenting the facts because they would be under greater scrutiny. Legislators who fail to verify information would also be known. Negative publicity would also be generated by the media regarding the lobbying group and lawmakers who may have been deceived.

In Congress there are dozens of "congressional caucuses" that represent interests, such as the powerful Greek caucus, Armenian caucus, black caucus, or Hispanic caucus. These are informal issues groups, usually devoted to ethnic issues, which try to promote a particular policy or interest. The Turkish caucus is quite new and only emerged after 2001.

Lobbying also seems to determine which candidates win and lose. Numerous studies document the success on election day, with the success in fund-raising. Studies also reveal that most campaign money comes in the form of large checks from an extremely small, wealthy percentage of the population. This is one of the reasons public interest groups and average citizens are concerned about what they view is an alliance between lobbyists and lawmakers. The changes brought about after 1971, for nominating and funding candidates, have resulted in more expensive and lengthy campaigns, and have raised ethical questions over whether legislators are beholden to special interests.

If lobbies have such a great impact on the decision-making process and on public policy, critics point out that some groups are better represented than others, and so policy unduly favors the organized (which are usually the business, ethnic, labor, and professional groups). Does the meaning of "Write to your representative" still have the same empowering purpose as it did before the emergence of powerful lobbies? Is it a government "by the people and for the people" if everybody is organized but the people? Such questions have led to increased studies on lobbying as well as the study of group power.

A recent international development is the new wealth around the globe which in some cases has facilitated buying influence, and has become a force for local and global corruption, while national mechanisms for regulating lobbying fail or do not exist. Shady campaign finance is also facilitating ways for criminal elements to influence government policy.  According to one observer, "A dangerous and costly symbiosis has emerged in the last 10 years, to the detriment of democracy and effective government. The end of the Cold War and the economic liberalization that followed created a new tycoon class with cash to burn and a million good reasons to get governments in their pockets" (Campaign Finance Goes Global, by Jane Bussey, Foreign Policy, Spring 2000). With the unfolding of each scandal, the public's belief in the power of the individual vote, and faith in the fairness of democracy erodes. If the plague of scandals goes unchecked, and results in increasing public indifference, the credibility of democracies will be damaged.

In a multicultural America, ethnic lobbies in particular are more conscious of their rights and their freedom to express themselves. But can the encouragement of the growth of so many lobbies create a more divided and less united America? Can self-interests supplant national and community interests? What are the obligations to the public? Some have asked whether the U.S. has entered into an "age of minorities" or even more dangerous, a "tyranny of minorities."  And can the excessive power of corporations work against the public interest? Is the money pouring in from lobbies undermining the soul of democracy? It therefore appears that as long as interest group lobbying continues to be such a controversial activity, there will be groups which lobby against it.

In the case of lobbying in America, the far-sighted Framers of the Constitution sought to prevent groups from tyrannizing others. They therefore constructed a political system that utilized a series of checks and balances. Some current political observers might however argue that the Framers would not be so happy to see the powerful web of relations and tools of policy influence at work in Washington, D.C. Yet, it is generally believed that although the interest group system is far from perfect, it allows a diversity of views to be expressed and protects some of America's most fundamental values--the rights of individuals to liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. Lobbies are therefore valued for their contributions to American democracy because they facilitate political representation and participation. It is also believed that the various interests that are expressed enable groups to cooperate, respect each other's rights and liberties, and pursue common goals.

BRIEF HISTORY OF LOBBYING REGULATIONS & LEGISLATION IN THE U.S.

The first attempts to regulate lobbying took place in 1876, when the House of Representatives passed a law requiring lobbyists to identify themselves. In 1926, bribes of legislators by lobbyists were so flagrant, Congress passed the Federal Corrupt Practices Act, which required disclosure of campaign contributions, the amount, by whom contributed, and how it was spent (but there were thousands of violations and the Act was not enforced). In 1938, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) required lobbyists working for foreign governments to register with the Department of Justice. Until the 1946 Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, lobbyists remained unregulated in any significant way. The 1946 measure required lobbyists to register and file financial reports. But lobbying activities were not restricted, many organizations were able to evade registering, or were exempted from the requirement.

"Campaign finance reform" refers to the changes that American political campaigns have undergone, or are undergoing due to campaign finance laws which seek to prevent candidates from becoming obligated to special interests. Although tighter disclosure laws came into force with the reforms of the 1970's, regulation of campaign finance is still being debating in America. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971, along with numerous amendments, set new contribution and spending limits, made provisions for government and public funding of presidential campaigns, and required reports of contributions and expenditures to be filed with the Federal Election Commission. As a result, the public can now keep better track of who is giving how much to which candidate, but many groups bypass regulations.

  • 1971 Federal Election Campaign Acts (FECA): Laws that restricted campaign financing and regulated contributions and spending, as well as other requirements for lobbyists. Although efforts at regulation were made earlier, recent campaign finance reform in the U.S. began with the landmark legislation that was passed in 1971, known as the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), which replaced the older Federal Corrupt Practices Act (an example of earlier efforts at regulation). The new law established detailed spending limits and required fuller disclosure of political funding, as well as set limits on money that could be spent on media, including radio, television, and print advertising. Numerous amendments (Acts) have been made since 1974.

  • 1974 Federal Election Commission (FEC): The FEC was established to administer the law. FEC is responsible for enforcing campaign finance rules and administering election laws and public financing program for the public interest. The FEC was established by the FECA Amendments of 1974, as part of the campaign finance reforms of the era. PAC's and candidates for Congress and the White House were affected by new requirements to disclose the use of funds. Amidst the changes, Amendments also revised the law related to political contribution from individuals from abroad. Foreign nationals and people working under a federal government contract cannot give contributions to federal candidates (except foreign nationals who have a green card). In addition, foreign nationals can not give money to support local or state campaigns. After 1974, any individual who is not a U.S. citizen and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence is prohibited from contributing (as defined in the Foreign Agents Registration Act). Almost all countries restrict or ban contributions from foreign sources. Foreign commercial interests that meet all the criteria under the Lobbying Disclosure Act must register with the House or the Senate.

  • 1976 Laws were further amended and strengthened.

  • Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1994: This law increased the disclosure requirements for lobbyists. Lobbyists must register with the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate, depending who they lobby. The disclosure also makes public the areas in which a lobbyist works for a client, who the client is, and how much the lobbyist is paid for his work. The records kept by the House clerk and Senate secretary are available to the public online through the Internet. Lobbyists are required to register under the law if: 1) they receive more than $5,000 from a client for lobbying over a six-month period; 2) they have frequent contacts with congressional staff, members, or executive branch officials; 3) and more than 20% of their time working for a client involves lobbying. Any group that has its own lobbyists in-house must register once expenses on lobbying exceed $20,500 in six months. Lobbyists who represent the interests of foreign countries on Capitol Hill, or with the executive branch, are also subject to disclosure regulations under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

  • In 1995, due to public pressure and concern about the role of special interests, Congress passed tougher lobbying registration and disclosure legislation.

There are many specific rules and restrictions lobbyists must comply with, such as gift and travel rules. These and other rules define the types of acceptable relationships that can exist between recipients and donors, although these lines are often blurred. For example, there is a $50 value limit on gifts, including meals and entertainment, that congressional members and staff can accept, and a total of $100 from any one source in a year. There are rules in other areas such as transportation, for instance if a member of Congress accepts a travel payment by a firm or lobbyist, some official business must be associated with the trip. However, because private organizations are not bound to many legal restrictions, critics see this as an ethics loophole. Therefore, there are still calls for better regulation and debates on how political money is raised, handled, and spent.

KÜRESEL LOBİCİLİK
"AMERİKA BİRLEŞİK DEVLETLERİ -AVRUPA BİRLİĞİ ve TÜRKİYE"

Av. Hakan HANLI
Uluslararası ve AB Hukuku Uzmanı

I. Genel Olarak

Modern dünya değişen siyasi sistemler vesilesiyle, tek bir çatı altında birleşme özelliği göstermekte ve giderek global ve bölgesel köyler haline gelmektedir. Demokratik yönetimlerin yaygınlaşması, kişisel özgürlüklere verilen değeri de arttırmaktadır.

İnsan hak ve özgürlüklerinin zirveye tırmandığı 21. yüzyılın başlarında, siyasi ve ekonomik arenalarda yönetimler ve modeller, bu perspektifi sürdürmeye ve tatmin etmeye yönelik bir yapıya kavuşturma gayreti içerisindedirler.

"İnsan unsuru"nu ihmal eden, ona hak ettiği önemi vermeyen ve yönetim tarzlarını buna göre şekillendirmeyen yönetimlerin, işbaşında kalması ve başarılı olmasının mümkün olmadığının anlaşılmasından doğan bu eğilim, içerisinde bulunduğumuz global yüzyıl sürecinde güçlenerek devam etme eğilimi göstermektedir.

ABD ve Avrupa Birliği ülkelerinde işlemekte olan temsili demokrasilerin oluşmasında ve işleyişinde hakim olan unsurlardan birisinin rekabet olduğunu biliyoruz. Rekabet ise, kendi mal ve hizmet sistemi için en iyi ortamın geçerli kılınmasını gerektiriyor.

Bu durum, insan topluluklarının giderek daha örgütlü toplumlar haline dönüşmesi ile gücünü arttırıyor. Bu aşamadan itibaren, örgütlü ve örgütlendiği için de güçlü çıkar ve baskı gruplarının yönetimler üzerinde son derece önemli etkileri ve yaptırım güçleri mevcuttur. Lobicilik, değişik yöntemlerle yürütülen bu çalışmaları içeren kapsamlı bir faaliyet alanıdır.

"Lobicilik" deyimini, sözlükler "….. parlamento üyelerini kanun koyma süresinde etkileme….." olarak tanımlıyor. İlk lobicinin, XVI. Louis döneminde, Fransa'nın ABD'ye sattığı silahların ödenmesi için uğraşan Vergennes Kontu olduğu söyleniyor.

ABD'de profesyonel anlamda başlayan lobicilik, 1980'li yıllarda Avrupa'da da yayıldı. ABD'de ünlü bir lobi kuruluşunun yıllık kazancının 60 milyon Amerikan Doları civarında olduğu; ABD ve Avrupa'da aranan profesyonel bir lobicinin saat ücretinin 600 Dolar civarında olduğu biliniyor. Özetle, demokratik sistemlerin ayrılmaz parçasını oluşturan baskı gruplarının temel amacı; "karar mekanizmalarını kendi hedefleri doğrultusunda etkilemektir".

Günümüzde iki tür lobicilik görüyoruz, Şöyle ki ;

Birincisi, karanlık bir güç olarak, bekleme odalarında, koridorlarda karar mekanizmalarını etkilemeye çalışanlardır. Bunlar için amaca varmak için her şey mubahtır. Bu türün getirdiği kötü ünden kurtulabilmek için son dönemde lobiciliğin ismi "monitoring" diye de kullanılmaktadır.
İkincisi ise, bilimsel araştırmalara ve fikirlere dayandırarak menfaatlerini savunanlardır. Yöntem ayrı olmakla birlikte, varılmak istenen hedef aynıdır. Bu çalışmalardan amaçlanan ise, "savunulan tezin (dosyanın) kabul görmesi"dir.

II. AB'nde Lobicilik Faaliyetleri

Avrupa Parlamentosu, lobi çalışmalarına bir düzen vermek için çalışmaları Parlamento Başkanı Baron Enrique CRESPO döneminde (1989-1994) Parlamenter Marc GALLE'yi görevlendirmesiyle başladı ("La Turquie vers l'Europe" isimli eserin sahibi). Değişik tüzük ve yönetmelikler yapıldı ve bu çalışmalar halen devam etmektedir.

İlk tüzük İngiliz (işçi Partisi) Glyn Ford ve Fransız Jean-Thomas Nordmann (UDF)'in yönettiği komisyon tarafından hazırlandı ve 1996 Haziran'ında Parlamento Başkanlığına sunuldu. Bu tüzükte Parlamentoya giriş ve çıkışlar, hediyeler ve davetli olarak gidilen geziler konusuna (her parlamenterin 3.000 EURO'nun biraz üstünde, Parlamento'nun üstlenmediği seyahatler için özel bütçesi mevcut…) bazı kurallar getirildi.

Sn. Glyn Ford "…ilgililerle diyalog içinde olmaktan büyük bir memnunluk duyuyoruz ….. ama bu ilişki, bir ortaklık veya aidiyet ilişkisi haline dönüşmemelidir……" diyordu. O dönemde, Türkiye'nin hemen hemen tüm Parlamenterlere şık bir kutu içinde Ankara Oda Orkestrası'nın 9 CD'lik hediyesi, M. Carthy tarafından Belçika basınına yansıtıldı.

Her Avrupa Parlamenterinin, asistan ve sekreter için sabit bir bütçesi olmakla birlikte, bazı parlamenterlerin sekreter veya asistanlarının ücretleri bazı kuruluşlar tarafından ödeniyordu. Hatta, 1995 yılı ilkbaharında dizel motorların tartışılması süresinde Peugeot-Citroen'in bir İngiliz Parlamenteri ödüllendirdiği haberi basına kadar yansıdı.

1990'lı yılların başlarında Avrupa Birliğinde 20.000'in üzerinde lobicinin olduğu ve bunların yıllık kazançlarının 450 milyon Euro'yu geçtiği tahmin ediliyor. Yeniden yapılanma ve düzenleme sürecinde, tekstil, otomobil, petrol ürünleri, çelik, vergi, ve diğer sanayi ve tarım ürünlerini içeren 1000'e yakın mevzuatın görüşüldüğü Avrupa Birliği'ne geçiş süresi lobi kuruluşları için altın dönemi teşkil etmekteydi.

Lobicilik sanatında deneyimli uzmanların ortak görüşü ise şöyle; "…tezin (dosyanın) savunulması için en doğru kişiyi, en doğru zamanda görmek gerekir….. etkilenilmesi istenen konu (tema), ne yazılmadan önce ne de yazıldıktan sonra ….". Tahmin edeceğiniz gibi, bu da olayları günü gününe değil, saati saatine ve detaylarıyla takip etmeyi gerektirecektir.

Bir başka ünlü lobici ise, deneyimlerine dayanarak ; "…. kazanan en iyi olan değil, lobisini en iyi yapandır…." diyor.

Avrupa'da lobicilik faaliyetleri, doğal olarak AET ile birlikte yoğunluk kazandı denilebilir. İlk lobiyi yapanlar Fransız tarımcıları oldu. Daha sonra büyük otomobil firmaları bürolar açmaya başladılar. Bununla kalmayıp, kendi bürolarını muhafaza ederek ortak bürolar açtılar. Böylelikle, bölgeler, şehirler, sendikalar, üniversiteler, barolar, dernekler bürolar açarak takip ettiler.

Brüksel'de lobi büroları, daha çok Avrupa Parlamentosu ve Komisyonu nezdinde faaliyet gösteriyorlar. Bunun için bu kuruluşların yapılarını ve işleme şekillerini iyi bilmek gerekmektedir. Bir konuyu istenilen sonuca ulaştırabilmek için ise; "neyin nerede olduğunu, kimin ne ile ilgilendiğini takip etmek gerekli ve zorunludur".

Kaliteli bir lobi bürosu savunduğu tezi, bilimsel tabana oturtabilmek için devamlı veya muntazam ilişkileri olan bilim insanları ile birlikte çalışmak zorundadır.

Lobiciliğin bir diğer altın kuralı ise, mümkün olduğu kadar erken haber alıp, değişik senaryolar hazırlamak ve her şeyi son ana bırakmamaktır". "Kafa-kol" mantığı genellikle ters tepmektedir. Önemli olan dürüst ve açık bir diyalogun kurulabilmesi ve sürdürülebilmesidir.

Lobi büroları, bu çalışma sistemi içinde eğitim ve bilgi toplama merkezleri haline gelirler. Edindikleri bilgileri, temsil ettikleri kuruluşlara ulaştırarak, onları gelecek değişikliklere hazırlama görevini ifa ederler. Bu çalışmalara ek ve destekleyici olarak, aynı zamanda lobi çalışması olarak kabul edilen; seminer, konferans ve forum sektör faaliyetleri de yürütülebilmektedir.

AB'nde değişik ülkelerin lobi konusundaki yaklaşımları değişik olduğu gibi, çalışma sistemleri ve uyguladıkları metotlar da farklılık arz etmektedir.

III. ABD'de Lobi Faaliyetleri

"Karar mekanizmalarını etkilemek amacıyla yapılan özel girişimler" olarak tanımlanan lobiciliğin doğum yeri ABD olup, lobici (lobby agent) kelimesi 1839 yılında ilk defa kullanılıyor. Washington DC'de 120 bin üzerinde lobici, 8.000 üzerinde şirket tarafından (5 milyar $'in üzerinde yıllık bütçe ile) bu faaliyetler 3 değişik şekilde yürütülmektedir. Şöyle ki; bilgi toplayıcılar (iç lobiciler- insider lobbying ve dış lobiciler-outsider lobbying) temsilciler ve bireysel lobiciler… Hatta ABD'nin artık bir ulus olmaktan ziyade, lobilerden oluşan bir komite haline geldiği bile ifade edilmektedir.

ABD ve AB'nde lobi çalışmalarını değişik algılanmakta ve yürütülmektedir. ABD'deki lobi çalışmaları, 1938 tarihli Foreign Agents Registration Act ve 1946 tarihli "Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act", değişiklik getiren "Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1976" "Lobbying Ethics" mevzuatlarıyla yürütülüyor. 1979 yılında ise, profesyonel lobiciler tarafından American Lobbyist League kuruluyor. Bundan amaç yasal zorunlulukların yerine getirilerek (örneğin sicile kaydolma...), illegal çalışmaların önlenilmesinin denetim yoluyla sağlanmasıdır.

ABD'deki lobi faaliyetleri ABD eski Başkanı Bill Clinton döneminde, yeniden gözden geçirilip, düzenlenilmiştir. Bundan amaçlanan, lobiciliğin yasal kural ve ahlaki değerleri yeniden tanımlanmıştır. Şöyle ki;
» Beyaz Saray'da görevli kişiler, görev sürelerinin sona ermesinden itibaren 5 yıl süreyle hukuk ve danışmanlık hizmetleri veren lobi şirketleri için çalışamazlar.
» Devlet memurları derecelerine uygun süreler içerisinde görevlerinden ayrıldıktan sonra, lobici olamamaktadır.
» Üst düzey yönetici olan Bakanlar, yabancı ülke hükümetleri için yaşam boyu lobi faaliyeti yapamazlar.
» Üst düzey ticaret temsilcileri, görevlerinin sona ermesinden sonra, çok-uluslu şirketleri ve yabancı hükümetleri yaşam boyu temsil edemezler.
» Anayasa'nın çerçevesini aşmadan, ülkeye karşı duyulan sadakati müşterilerden üstün tutmak.
» Temsil edilen müşterinin yanlış yönlendirilmemesi ve aldatılmaması.
» Devlet görevlilerine maddi açıdan değeri olan hiçbir şeyi karşılık bekleyerek vermeyin.
» Güvenilir, inanılır ve uzlaşmacı olunması.

Hukuki yaptırım: "bu kurallara uymayanlar hakkında kamu davası açılacaktır". Kullanılması sakıncalı teknikler: rüşvet ve tehdit.

IV. Türkiye'nin ABD ve AB Nezdinde Lobi Faaliyetleri

Türkiye'nin, ABD ve AB nezdinde devlet ve özel sektör kuruluşları olarak, lobicilik konusunda geniş deneyimi olmadığı gibi, arzu edildiği kadar başarılı olduğu da söylenemez.

Bunun değişik nedenleri mevcut olmakla birlikte, elde edilen bazı başarılarda, şu unsurların önemli olduğunu gözlemliyoruz: "Eğitim, tecrübe, doğrudan iletişim, ihtisas alanlarında geniş bilgi sahibi olma".

Bununla birlikte, bu hususun öneminin kavrandığı ve konuya eğilinildiği de inkar edilemez. Özellikle, son zamanlarda "dış temsilciliklerimizdeki eski, hikmeti bilinmez kişilerden efektif ve etkin hizmet bekleme yönteminin terk edildiği veya edilmekte olduğu" mutlulukla gözlenmektedir.

Bununla birlikte, artık ABD ve AB'nin her köşesinde, göçmen kökenli Türkiyelilerin kurdukları veya aktif oldukları kuruluşlarla yakın ilişkide oldukları bir başka gerçeği teşkil etmekle birlikte, Türkiye kökenli araştırmacı ve bilim insanlarından kolektif avantaj yaratabilmek amacıyla, yeterli derecede yararlanıldığı da söylenemez.

Lobicilik kıvrak bir kişilik ve geniş bir kültürü de gerektirmektedir. Devamlı çevre ile ilişki içinde olacaksınız, tanıyacaksınız ve tanınacaksınız. Türkiye'de hakikaten yetenekli kişiler olduğuna inandığım, resmi ve özel lobicilerimizden pek azı bu çalışmayı bilhakken yerine getirmektedir. Bununla birlikte, Brüksel'deki büronun gerekenleri yerine getirebilmesi için, merkezin de bu konulara vakıf olması önemli ve gereklidir.

1. Türkiye'de Lobi Teknikleri : Kısa aralıklı ve bireysel bazlı ziyaretler. Sektörü temsil eden ve üyesi bulundukları dernek, vakıf vb. kuruluşlarla işbirliği ile hareket edilmesi.
Eski dostlukların veya hemşehrilik bağlarının kullanılması.
Bürokrat ve kanun yapıcılara yakın isimlerle kontak kurmak suretiyle.
Siyasi parti başkanları ile ikili veya çoklu görüşmeler yapmak suretiyle.
Açık hava toplantıları, sessiz yürüyüşler, basın toplantıları, vb…

2. ABD ve Avrupa'daki Türkiyeli Göçmenler : Türkiye'nin, ABD ve AB içerisindeki bir başka kolunu teşkil edebilecek göçmenlerin de, yeteri kadar örgütlendiği ve genelde göçmenler ve özelde kendileri için (Türkiye için demiyorum, göçmenler evvela kendi lobilerini yapmak zorundalar, ortak konularda da doğal olarak işbirliği yapılabilir) lobi çalışması yapamadıklarını, değişik nedenlerden dolayı gözlemliyoruz.

ABD ve Avrupa'da göçmenlikle ilgili kararların artık yaşanan ülkede değil, Washington ve Brüksel'de alındığı ve Türkiye kökenli göçmen örgütlerinin bunun farkında olmamakla birlikte, yavaş yavaş anlamaya başladıklarını da gözlemlemekteyiz.

Elbette ki, burada Türkiye'nin göçmenlere hep "ihtiyat ile yaklaşmasının" ve bu kitleyi mutlaka "yönlendirmeye ve yakın kontrol altında" tutmaya çalışmasının da bazı olumsuz etkileri söz konusu olmaktadır. Türkiye kökenli göçmenler son tahlilde, "ülkelerine bağlıdırlar ve ülkelerini severler". Onlara güvenmek ve bir diaspora çalışmasını desteklemek çok yararlı bir çalışma olacaktır.

V. Sonuç

Türkiye'nin uluslararası seviyede, ulusal seviyede olduğu gibi gerçek anlamda bir lobi faaliyeti yürüttüğü söylenemez. Bununla birlikte, jeo-politik açıdan stratejik önemi olan bir noktada bulunan ve sürekli gelişen Türkiye'nin ulusal menfaatleri doğrultusunda (dost-düşman kutuplarını terk ederek, karşılıklı menfaat eksenine yönelerek), uluslararası ilişkilerinde, lobi faaliyetlerini sürekli, düzenli, koordineli bir şekilde ve sebat ile yürütmesi gereklidir.

Bununla birlikte, lobicilik yasal çerçeveler içerisinde (hukukçularımıza büyük görev düşüyor) gerçekleştirildiği vakit, uygulayıcısına beklenilen faydayı sağlamaktadır. Hedeflenen menfaatler doğrultusunda, koordineli bir şekilde yürütülen ve desteklenen faaliyetler sonucu, karar mekanizmalarının alacağı olumlu kararlar, ülkeyi ve çıkar sahiplerini gerek ülke içerisinde, gerekse dışında değerli ve prestijli kılacaktır.
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Republican National Committee www.rnc.org Defenders of Wildlife www.defenders.org
Care www.care.org Environmental Defense Fund www.edf.org
Center for Law and Social Policy www.clasp.org Ethnics Resource Center www.ethnics.org
US Conference of Mayors www.usmayors.org Oxfam www.oxfam.org
Concord Coalition www.concordcoalition.org Greenpeace www.greenpeace.org
Amnesty International www.amnesty.org Human Rights Watch www.hrw.org
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation www.cff.org Human Rights Campaign www.hrc.org
Democratic Leadership Council www.dlcppi.org Drug-Free Workplace www.drugfreeworkplace.org
Families USA Foundation www.familiesusa.org League of Conservation Voters www.lcv.org
Family Research Council www.frc.org League of Women Voters www.lwv.org
American Immigration Reform www.fairus.org Libertarian Party www.lp.org
National 4-H Council www.fourhcouncil.edu National Gay & Lesbian Task Force www.ngltf.org
Coalition on Health www.americashealth.org Jewish Democratic Council www.njdc.org
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Washington Legal Foundation www.wlf.org The Wildlife Society www.wildlife.org
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