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Using crowdsourcing to make lobbying more transparent in the French National Assembly

Introduction

Lobbying has always been a natural part of governance. After all, governance is about multiple stakeholders negotiating policy, so it is not surprising that all parties seek to use whatever influence mechanisms they think might work. On the positive side, lobbying can improve public policy by providing decision makers with a range of important insights and relevant information. However, lobbying can be like an iceberg – above the water is its slim, pointed contribution to effective government but below is a huge, hidden and potentially lethal wedge of corruption and state capture. This dark side of lobbying – the hidden dealing to win unfair advantage for privileged individuals and vested interests – requires regulation through legal safeguards and transparent processes.

The organisations Transparency International France and Regards Citoyens sought to document activities to gain influence within the French National Assembly, and used over 3,000 citizens to co-produce a fuller record of influence at French Assembly. It highlighted that the transparency promised by public registers of lobbyists can often be an illusion. Overall, it provides a convincing argument in favour of increased openness about formal and informal access to decision makers.  It also provides a model that other Parliaments might use to ensure that the political process reflects the interest of society as a whole rather than the interests of a powerful few.

About this case study
Main Contact

Myriam Savy

Transparence International France

Email :

myriam.savy@transparence-france.org

Regards Citoyens

Email:

contact@regardscitoyens.org

Frankie Hine-Hughes wrote this case study for Governance International on 22 March 2012.

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