Yesh Atid MK Adi Kol 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Yesh Atid)
A bill seeking to define any Knesset visitor with an agenda as a lobbyist is to
be brought to a Ministerial Committee for Legislation vote on Sunday.
proposal, submitted by MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid) and cosigned by most of her
faction, would increase transparency in lobbyists’ work and make anyone entering
the Knesset in to convince MKs of something subject to the laws applying to
Such people include in-house lobbyists, employed by an
organization or company as opposed to a lobbying agency; lawyers or accountants
representing a company or group in committee meetings; and parties’ central
The bill expands the application of the Lobbyists’ Law
beyond the Knesset, meaning that lobbyists would have to register and identify
themselves in parliamentary committee meetings taking place outside the Knesset
The legislation is based on a January 2013 report by Israel
Democracy Institute on lobbyists.
Kol’s bill would significantly limiting
lobbyists’ access to the Knesset and its meetings by taking away their permanent
entry identification and requiring them to register with security each time they
Under the bill, lobbyists would be required to report their
clients, the issues they deal with and whether they are a candidate for a
position through a political party. All of these details would be added to the
section on the Knesset website where lobbyists are listed.
ministers, MKs and directors-general of ministries would not be able to be
lobbyists for at least 18 months after they left their positions. The current
law applies only to MKs and ministers, and is only for one year.
under Kol’s bill, a committee composed of the Knesset Speaker and two of his
deputies would be allowed to ban a lobbyist from the Knesset if he breaks the
The Lobbyists’ Forum wrote a letter to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni
last week, explaining that it supports the bill. Without it, they wrote,
“black-market lobbying,” by those who don’t identify themselves as lobbyists,
will be allowed to grow in the Knesset.
The forum added that it preferred
open, transparent lobbying.
The Progressive Democracy NGO that has
tackled the lobbyist issue in recent years called on Saturday night for
ministers to vote in favor of Kol’s proposal, even though it id not go far
“In its current version, the ‘Lobbyists’ Bill’ is not a serious
tool for fighting the connections between the government and the wealthy,” the
NGO said. “In light of this, we are not surprised that the Lobbyists’ Forum
supports the bill.”
Still, a Progressive Democracy spokesman expressed
hope that the organization would successfully lobby MKs to make more
far-reaching changes when the bill was brought to Knesset committees.
Wednesday, during a Knesset Finance Committee meeting, MK Stav Shaffir (Labor)
asked all lobbyists present to identify themselves and their clients. They
refused, and left the room.
Shaffir wrote on Facebook that she planned to
ask the Knesset House Committee to require all lobbyists to present themselves
and who they represent at the start of every committee meeting.