Do lobbyists need to believe in what they're lobbying for?

I’m thinking about lobbying firms. Do these firms start with a core set of beliefs, and get paid to lobby for those beliefs, or are they just firms that are started by people who are well connected and, therefore, could sell their sway to the highest bidder, no matter the issue?

To be clear, I’m asking if the latter is ever true, and, if so, if it’s common.

Firms generally won’t take clients whose interests conflict, for obvious reasons, but big lobbying and law firms generally have employees with views across the political spectrum. Alston Bird, for instance, employs both Tom Daschle, former Democratic Senate majority leader, and Bob Dole, former Republican Senate majority leader (as well as a lot of Democrats and Republicans who aren’t as famous).

Its salemanship. All that matters is the paycheck. Period.

Most people don’t care one way or the other on most issues anyway. The big moral dilemma rarely comes up. When it does, the money wins or you get a new job.

I’ve never worked for a lobbying firm, but I did once work for a software company that provided services exclusively to one of the major parties, and candidates and officeholders of that party. Interestingly, it was probably the most apolitical office I ever worked in. Nobody cared about anyone’s beliefs and water-cooler political debates were non-existent.

Think of lobbying firms like you would an attorney: they tend to specialize in certain areas (telecommunications, transportation, health care, defense, etc), and are not obligated to take a client if they don’t want to. There are small lobbying shops and big ones, just like there are law offices with 2-3 attorneys all the way up to firms with hundreds.

And while there of course is a political bent to lobbying, DC being a political town, if I read into the OP I believe that there is a slight misunderstanding of the concept of “core set of beliefs.” Most lobbyists tend to advocate from the position of their clients, not from a general political philosophy, much like how lawyers argue for their clients, as opposed to being tied their own personal views on justice.

No, not necessarily. A non-profit I worked for a few years ago had a lobbyist. Most of our lobby work involved things like worker rights, low-income worker assistance, EITC, etc. Our lobbyist did a fantastic job, and kept us and our lawmakers well-informed of the issues and legislation.

His biggest client was Wal-Mart.

Most lobbyists represent one or more interests, like the drug industry, defense contractors or whatever. Their interest is in getting laws or regulations that benefit that industry. A pharmaceutical lobbyist, for example, most likely has no professional interest in whether Alabama gets a new highway. Their biggest conflict would be something like one company wanting fewer restrictions on generic drugs, while another wants more.

If you’re hiring a lobbyist, you want 1) someone with skill in your area and 2) contacts.

I’ll answer with a question: “Do politicians need to believe in what they’re campaigning for?”

The answer is “It probably helps, but at the end of the day, they’ll say whatever they have to.”

My gf works in advertising. She often works on accounts that she has strong views against. It’s all about the paycheck.

My Father is a lobbyist and he believes in what he is doing, but he’s lobbied for different organizations in different fields. He started out as a lobbyist for contractors and now is a lobbyist for Pharmacists.

But for some it’s like selling anything else, I don’t think it really matters.

I quote Ghostbusters:

Janine Melnitz: Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?

Winston Zeddemore: Ah, if there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.

A skilled orator can argue for anything. There have been times in my philosophy classes that I’ve played the Devil’s Advocate and argued against something I may have believed in, just to argue it. I may not have always succeeded, but someone who does that for living, who is researched and paid for it, can argue for just about anything.

In The American President, Annette Bening’s character admits she hasn’t even read up on what she’s arguing for when she first sits down with the VP, but she is still rather effective. She’s just that good. Granted, you have to take movies with a grain of salt, but I’m sure there are lobbyists who can do this.

I’ll reply with a question: “Do campaign managers need to believe in what the politician is campaigning for?”