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venerdì 1 luglio 2011

Lobbyist activity in Italy as in England?


The recent case Bisignani (lobbyist) shows that in Italy is still widespread confusion among businessmen, lobbyists and fixers. The latter, unlike the first two belong to a professional group that performs an activity, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries, is regulated, made transparent and recognized as essential to the proper functioning of democracy.
Next to the name of Luigi Bisignani appear in these days a wide variety of adjectives: fixer, businessman, and head of pidduista P4, even "new Licio Gelli." None of these "qualifications", however, calls into question an entire profession - throwing mud on a legitimate business - as does the word "lobbyist". Nor is it a new practice, but a tradition established in journalistic jargon and public opinion, to connote the term "lobbyist" with a load of negative connotations. So the lobbyist becomes clear just who has relations with the parliamentary round, offering beautiful women and big cars in exchange for a leggina in favor of his client, who always goes to the limit of legal ethics and acceptable, and often goes beyond.
If you ask a U.S. citizen or a British opinion is accompanied by his country in lobbying activity, you will feel that answer is absolutely normal practice, planned and regulated by the legal system, even in the U.S. case, an integral part of the system American constitutional. Certainly, in these countries there have been scandals over lobbying policy makers on which the judiciary has taken action: one for all the scandal associated with the name of Jack Abramoff, lobbyist for the American millionaire who was convicted in 2006, along with other members of 'business, for a round of election gifts and donations that shook the leaders of the Republican Party. But this, in the United States, is considered a case of pathological deviation from the norm, among other things, promptly punished by the apparatus judiciary.
In Italy, however, it is commonly thought that the use of bribes, kickbacks and illegal financing of the handbook are part of the lobbyist, the head of external relations of a company or organization. Of course, the earthquake Tangentopoli historically has not helped to dispel this misconception. Now the case seems to reinforce this belief Bisignani. But if in our country began to be split up what a "fixer" of what a lobbyist, not only would help to clarify the ideas of the people, but also to accelerate the public debate on the need for a framework law to regulate and make transparent the lobbying activities, recognizing the role of professional lobbyists and providing penalties for those who break the norm.
As often happens in Italy, including civil society on this issue has moved well ahead in politics. In 2000, he founded Networks, "the first Italian company Lobbying and Public Affairs" - as we read in the pages of the site - founded by Massimo Micucci, Anthony Napoli and Claudio Velardi. Network's mission is to help "companies and associations to represent their interests among decision-makers in an explicit and transparent." That is, what is meant by lobbying. Just Claudio Velardi, who have a history of political office and is one of the most famous Italian political consultants, has addressed a letter to Corriere della Sera, published last Sunday, eloquently entitled "I confess, are lobbyist (and it's serious) ". In the letter, Velardi said that "we are overwhelmed by the intercepts have nothing to do with the reality of modern lobbying, which moves in the sea of ​​the Internet, social networking and the open date, and operates on two words Key words: transparency and participation. Concepts, needless to say, very far from the reality of Italian politics and public administration. "
Time on Friday, however, spoke Giuseppe Mazzei, president of The Cloister for the transparency of lobbying, an association that brings together those among public affairs professionals, share the goal of "promoting the culture, practice and regulation in representing the interests of transparency ". In an evocative article entitled "Lobbying and Prejudice," Mazzei said the lobbyists against bitterly that giving "has become a national sport, very popular, particularly in connection with investigations by the prosecution, which often have nothing to do with the activities representation of interests ". The consequence is that "many professionals who daily do their work with seriousness, morality and respect for the institutions are forced to suffer the humiliation of being painted as a bleak shady characters that move in the shadows, working at the limit of law at times in the gardens of the encroaching evil of corruption. I do not think - continues Mazzei - that we can no longer tolerate this kind of a hoax. It's time to shed light on this profession and to ask the Italian parliament a law to regulate this activity. "
Shared an appeal, which stresses that the question of the regulation of lobbying will never be the solution until they become aware of politics. To understand, particularly as a transparent relationship with lobbyists can only facilitate the work of the true politician, which is to incorporate all information and all requests coming from civil society, and then deciding in the general and independently. We think the trial of the lobbyists who gave President John F. Kennedy "I do understand a problem in ten minutes, while my team takes three days." The solution is not certain to entrust the fate of representative democracy groups, however, have as their ultimate goal the protection of particular interest. But if the activities of these groups were regulated and made transparent, the Italian Democratic gains in legitimacy and efficiency. It would fill a weak point of legislation, which is becoming increasingly urgent to resolve.

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