Principal Investigators
Frank Baumgartner
UNC-Chapel Hill
Jeffrey Berry
Marie Hojnacki
Penn State
David Kimball
Missouri - St. Louis
Beth Leech
Our Sample
of Issues
and Publications
Related Projects Thanks to
Our Students


This is the site for the Collaborative Research Project on Lobbying and policy advocacy in the US federal government. The research project is a major, multi-year academic study of the process of lobbying and policymaking in Washington, DC. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation (grants #SBR-9905195 for the period of 1999 and 2000 and #SES-0111224 for the period of 2001 to 2003), with significant support from Penn State University. Here you will find information on the background of the project, the principal investigators, documentation about research procedures, and a series of case files giving information about lobbying activities on a sample of public policy issues. In 2009 we published a book reporting on our findings, Lobbying and Policy Change, winner of the Leon Epstein Award for the best book on the topic of political organizations and parties. Click on "Documentation and Publications" to learn more about that book and to get the data associated with it. Click on "Our Sample of Issues" to learn more about the research on which the book is based.


The project focuses on a random sample of public policy issues on which lobbyists were active. Our initial interviews, which were used to identify our sample of cases, were conducted between February 1999 and October 2002. We interviewed a sample of lobbyists and asked them to describe their activities on the most recent issue dealing with the federal government on which they were active. The lobbyists were chosen randomly from a list of registered lobbyists, with those organizations that lobby the most having the highest probabilities of being selected. The result, as readers will see below, is a random sample of policy issues. Interviews focus on lobbying activities, the make-up of coalitions on all sides of the issue, arguments and evidence being used, the venues of government decision-making, and other questions. All of the respondents were assured of anonymity; therefore we do not release notes from the actual interviews. Rather, we used our interviews to do two things: First, we conducted extensive web searches for publicly available information such as news stories, congressional action (such as bills, hearings, testimony, committee reports, and member news releases), executive branch activities (such as regulations or proposed regulations), interest-group statements (such as press releases or information from their web sites), and other information. We have provided either a link to these sites, for those that are expected to be permanent, or copies of the relevant web pages with a note of where they were originally found. Second, we have written a short overview of each case that provides background material and a description of the lobbying activities. These case overviews provide a wealth of information about each case as well as links to the web-based primary materials that we have located through our searches. Researchers and students interested in lobbying should be able to conduct a wealth of research simply by comparing the cases we have documented here.

The links above will take you throughout our web site. Click on "Our Sample of Issues" to see the list of issues and then click on any issue to find out more. The "Documentation and Publications" section includes background information, publications from the project, grant proposals, a copy of our interview protocols, and other detailed information about how we did our research. "Related Projects" links to other projects we've been involved in including the Policy Agendas Project, a study of lobby disclosure reports in Washington, and other sites. Finally, click on "Thanks to Our Students" to see just how massive this project has been, and who were the people behind the scenes who did so much of the work. Without their help, this project would not have been possible.

Note that interviews were conducted from 1999 to 2003; therefore all our cases come from the 106th (1999-2000) or the 107th (2001-02) Congress. The 106th Congress was the last Congress of the Clinton Presidency; the 107th was the first of the Bush Presidency. Searching for related documents and constructing our web site continued through June 30, 2004. Only minor changes and corrections are expected after July 1, 2004. In January 2011 we revised this page to add more complete documentation including reference to our book and the associated data files for distribution.

Questions or comments? Email Frank Baumgartner at