Frequently Asked Questions
Every citizen has the right to lobby their government or to hire a lobbyist to represent them.
iLobby is a micro-lobbying service that connects you with other people to quickly find the best lobbyist that matches your issues to help you resolve issues with the government.
iLobby matches political issues that affect you with other like-minded people. Together, you clarify your message through debate, pool your financial resources and then retain a lobbyist to represent your cause. We think of it as your personal persuasion platform.
Anything political that bugs you.
A debate is like a contest. There are two sides. One side supports an issue. The other side opposes it. Through arguments and votes back and forth, eventually one side prevails.
You argue on one side or the other with facts, just like we do in real life.
A position is a stance you take either for or against an issue.
At the federal level you have one Congressman and two Senators. At the State level in California (for instance) you also have one Assembly Member and one State Senator.
A constituent is generally a registered voter who has elected a representative to represent their views.
Yes. That is correct. In your district, your city, your town or state or any part of the country.
It can sometimes take as long as 5-7 years. When there is more broad support, it can be quicker.
You can support, oppose, amend or watch it.
No. But you do have to be an authenticated user and eligible voter to create a debate argue or pledge money to a cause.
Every citizen has the right to lobby their government or to hire a lobbyist to represent them.
Yes. iLobby is flexible and allows you to do that.
When you act alone you are a voice of one. When you hire a lobbyist, the firm represents hundreds or thousands of constituents in many congressional districts. The lobbyist is an expert in your issues and knows his way around Washington and the State capitols including the specific staff, committees and subcommittees that will influence the legislation that you are concerned about. This gives you and the lobbyist more power.
iLobby helps you redress grievances with the government so you have more of a real say and impact in what happens in your community and our country.
The end game is to change legislation, get new and better laws or get rid of old out-of-date laws. It is up to your Representative to either support or oppose the legislation that you believe in and this is expressed through their votes. Sometimes, the legislative change you want is just a matter of editing a few precise words or lines in an exisiting Act or Bill.
You can take action very quickly on the site. Getting the government to act can take longer. Congress is not a start-up. By its nature the legislature is a deliberative body. They need to get buy-in from a majority before a bill works its way through the process and becomes law.
Your personal story and how a law affects you in your district trump all. Combined with thousands of other constituent voices with a clear message, focus on an issue and economic persistence, this becomes very powerful.
Lots of other people and businesses have issues that need to be addressed. You could look at their issues, debates and their arguments and you could take a position and join forces with them.
Yes. Large corporations, trade unions and associations, special interests, cities and universities all regularly hire lobbyists to present their point of view and educate legislators on issues. So can you.
Not exactly. The Representative still needs to convince a majority of the member body to vote similarly in the House and the Senate and for the President to sign a bill into law.
Everyone who disagrees with your position on an issue.
You can only appeal to your Representative. The law prevents a Member of Congress from incurring any expenses on behalf of a non-constituent. This means you work with your representatives in your district but you may ask them to petition other members of Congress on your behalf by writing a "Dear Colleague" letter.
Connect allows you to list the top 3 issues that are important to you. From there you can find debates on the issues, other constituents who have voted on similar issues or Representatives who have stated that they are either for against the issues you've listed.
Yes, your top three issues are saved in your personal account profile and you can change them at any time.
DEBATE (1) BEFORE
A Caucus Leader has three key powers:
1. They define the issue, the category and the timeline.
2. They post the first argument.
3. They Chair the Debate Committee that oversees hiring and managing a lobbyist.
The Debate Committee is composed of three members and oversees hiring and managing the lobbyist.
The Caucus Leader and the top two users who posted positive arguments that won the highest number of votes.
Two sides. These are called positions. You either support or oppose an issue.
They can be anything. The caucus leader sets the issues or political concerns that are important to him or her.
The Caucus Leader is any authenticated user who starts a debate.
Each user can enter 1 argument or 1 rebuttal.
Yes, but you have to do it before someone votes on it. After that it is locked.
A user gets 3 votes.
Debates last 3, 5, 7, 30 or 90 days.
Any authenticated user who is an eligible voter
When you start a debate, you become the Caucus Leader. It's similar to a moderator but you get special privileges.
No. But you must be an eligible voter and at least one member of the Debate Committee must be a registered voter in the district where their Representative will address their issue.
DEBATE (2) DURING
Users create arguments for or against an issue and users can vote for the strongest arguments or rebuttals.
When the debate ends, votes are tallied on either side. The side with the most votes wins. A recommendation is posted showing the results.
A user can pledge money to support the winning debate. If the money pledged meets the budget, the caucus leader can form the debate committee which oversees matching up the issue with a lobbyist. Once this happens, it is called a Campaign.
DEBATE (3) AFTER
No. There are two other members of the Debate Committee but they don't get selected till the debate ends.
The caucus leader is the chair of the debate committee. This is the person who started the debate. Then, two argument winners are chosen. They are the top winners from the same side as the caucus leader and that received the most votes for their arguments. Arguments with the highest number of votes rise to the top and the caucus leader, #2 and #3 form the committee.
The minimum amount required to hire a lobbyist is set at $5,000 but it can be much higher.
If a winner chooses not to serve, then the next highest winning argument winner is selected.
iLobby shows the unused balance in your account and you can use it for a different debate in the future.
You can join with other constituents to retain a lobbyist to advocate on your behalf.
Yes you can e-mail your legislator, call him, write him or arrange an in-person meeting with other constituents from your district.
You can ask her to support or oppose legislation to sponsor or cosponsor legislation or to write a "Dear Colleague" letter to other Members of Congress.
Some people think so but politicians are required to keep money separate from issues. Otherwise it looks like quid-pro-quo.
No. We focus on issues. Most Representatives have their own campaign websites that you can go to and support them for re-election.
Issues represent problems. Laws identify solutions. But if issues are not publicly debated the solution may favor one special interest or group over another and we end up with bad or unfair law or an inadequate solution.
Yes, as citizens we may petition our government for redress of grievances. This is guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
Lobbying is generally expensive and time consuming but by joining with others you can share the cost and enjoy the results.
No. By the strict federal definition under the LDA ("Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995") iLobby is not a registered lobbyist nor do we meet the minimum requirements. We simply help you connect with other constituents to find a lobbyist that meets your needs.
No. If an individual or a small group lobbies a politician for their own benefit, they do not meet the minimum requirements as a lobbyist. When your group hires a lobbyist you become a client of the lobbyist.
The index is composed of 10 key attributes based on the performance of the member. It factors in three broad areas. These are ethics, leadership and results. Education, election results and the ratio of successful legislation are several of the attributes that are included.
We do not consider political party, age, sex, race, religion, gender preference, national origin or other personal attributes. None of these have an impact on the score of the individual Representative.
No. It would be hard for a Representative to change his score, not without a lot of hard work. Increasing their legislative ability with their constituents and their peers or undertaking further personal educational or professional improvement in their lives can, over time, improve the score.
We want to make it easy for you to compare them from one district to the next, from one time period to another.
The iLobby index represents the median of the top 25% of upper scoring members of Congress. We believe it sets a high benchmark for other members to aspire to and acts as a way for a representative or senator to compare themselves to the best congressional members.
Enter your pledge amount and complete the checkout process.
If this debate is successfully funded and wins, your credit card will be charged along with the other supporters of this debate when it ends.
Yes. If a debate isn't successully funded, no one pays anything. Contact "firstname.lastname@example.org"
Yes. Lobbyists file form LD-203 on a semi-annual basis with the Clerk of the Senate (SOPR - Senate Office of Public Records) and with their State government offices. These reports are public and provide detail that the government has required on their lobbying activity, clients finances and matters under discussion.
On a regular basis the lobbyist will report back to the Debate Committee and all users who pledged to the debate giving an ongoing record of his progress on the issue.
Yes. This is available directly from the U.S. Government.