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Question of the day

Friday, Feb 7, 2014

* As we discussed last week, longtime Statehouse lobbyist Dick Lockhart’s 90th birthday party was this past Wednesday.

One of the most popular speeches of the night was delivered by Bob Myers, of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois. Most of Bob’s speech was him reading from “Lockhart’s Logic,” a list of do’s and don’ts for lobbyists honed by Lockhart over the centuries. Here’s Bob reading the list

* If you can’t watch videos at work, here are some of the rules…

“Credibility is a non-renewable resource. Once gone, it is gone.”

“A legislator and his ego are never parted.”

“If you can’t defeat a bill, dilute it. If you can’t dilute it, delay it.”

“It is better to be the key to a locked door than it is to try to beat the door down.”

“Fear and/or greed generate most legislation.”

“Everything is temporary.”

“Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.”

“Coalitions are temporary love affairs, seldom consummated or even blissful, and they frequently lead to seductions by clever suitors.”

“No bill should be called before its time.”

“Legislation is not only the art of compromise, compromise is also an art.”

“Say ‘Thank you’ often, and mean it.”

* The Question: Can you think of any other do’s and don’ts not covered here?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


34 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Get to know Staff, Get Staff to know you.

    Have the answers, and if you don’t, then say so, and get the answers.

    Not everyone is an enemy unless you make them so.

    Nothing is “done” until it’s done.


  2. - DuPage Rep - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.


  3. - Knome Sane - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    There is always a “germane” bill to be found, especially in Veto Session.


  4. - anon person - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    wear comfortable shoes.


  5. - Knome Sane - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    And “germane-ness” is in the eye of the parliamentarian.


  6. - Just Me - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    The person you upset today, will most surely be the same person you need help from in five years after two election cycles and they have a higher position.


  7. - walker - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    Commit only what you own.


  8. - Out Here In The Middle - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    Love the one on credibility. Going on my bulletin board right beside:

    “If you have to yell to be hear you probably don’t have anything important to say.”


  9. - Wayne Bibliotech - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    Don’t bring anyone radical with you, from the left or the right. Not because their views will offend legislators, but because they don’t want to see government work.


  10. - Madame Defarge - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Never fall in love with your bill
    Motion does not equal progress
    Only thing worse than having allies is not having allies
    If you are not paying for the band, don’t expect to select the songs
    Speeches can change minds but seldom change votes


  11. - Norseman - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    Dick’s Legislative Miranda Rights were an enjoyable read.

    “1. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to express your concerns, or protect your interests in the General Assembly unless you want to do so.

    2. If you want to express yourself, I must advise you that whatever you say, or do, or not say or do, can and will be used against you in the Legislature. [Personal aside: I’ve seen several instances where someone testifying literally talked a noncontroversial bill to death.]

    3. You have a right to consult with a lobbyist and to have a lobbyist present with you while you are expressing your concerns or protecting your interests in the Legislature.

    4. If you want (or need) a lobbyist, but are unable (or unwilling) to pay for one, a lobbyist will not be appointed to represent you free of any cost and you should be prepared to accept the
    consequences. They could be unpleasant.”


  12. - Norseman - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    I loved Willy’s addition. However, as a minority staffer, I found that fewer lobbyists reached out to me than my majority counterpart (of course). I almost always had to track them down for their feedback.


  13. - Juvenal - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Trust everyone, but cut the deck.

    Read the bill, then reread the bill.

    Beware of “merely” bills.

    In the battle between ‘the perfect’ and ‘the good’, the winner is most often the status quo.

    Choose your clients and your causes with all the care you would exercise in marriage; you can always get a divorce, but your reputation is for life.


  14. - Joan P. - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean he is a) stupid, or b) evil.


  15. - 47th Ward - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    I’d add one of my favorites: If you have to choose between a legislator thinking you are stupid OR thinking you are a liar, do your best to convince them you’re only stupid.

    Stupid can sometimes be fixed. Liars are always broken.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    - Norseman -,

    But you knew who to track down, right?

    The library keeps calling about the reserved room for the campaign, I forwarded your info to them.

    To the Post,

    I think also, what is so telling about all this in a big picture sort of way, is that if anyone in the game of government does not understand that “we are all in this together”, and its not about one bill, or one issue, or even one vote, then you understand government and how to make it work best for everyone.

    I love the rules, thanks Rich for the video.


  17. - Norseman - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    For those of you who don’t know Dick. He’s been a real institution at the Capitol. He started lobbying a couple of years after I was born and is continuing to lobby after I’ve retired.

    One of the other items available at the birthday reception was a Do’s and Don’ts list for living a long life. I got depressed reading it because I did more of the Don’ts and didn’t do a lot of the Do’s.

    Once explanation for his longevity, creativity and success must be due to him being a part of the “Greatest Generation.” His WW II history and experience in one of the worst POW camps can be heard by going to the following link:

    https://www2.illinois.gov/alplm/library/collections/oralhistory/VeteransRemember/worldwarII/Pages/LockhartRichard.aspx


  18. - The Colossus of Roads - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    1-Facts just confuse the process
    2-Know the Bill’s sponsor
    3-Take a class from the ABATE lobbyist-anyone that can keep helment law out of Illinois must be good


  19. - Boone's is Back - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    Read Capitol Fax every day and stay current on your subscription.


  20. - Sarge - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    A good rule for staffers - “When the elephants fight, the smart monkeys stay in the trees.”


  21. - Gathersno - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    What goes around, comes around. Dick’s got just 6 years on me, but I’ll never catch up.


  22. - PoolGuy - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    Alcohol is the cause of and solution to most bills problems.


  23. - Gathersno - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    ,,,also - as Senator Cecil Partee told me when he retired, “Never believe a legislator when he tells you why he didn’t vote your way.”


  24. - Commonsense in Illinois - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    Dick’s list is pretty good, but here are a few of mine:

    Never be afraid to say, I don’t know, but then go find out.
    When in doubt, follow the money.
    Never take yourself too seriously…you’ll be the only one who does.
    Never show up at 9:05 for a 9:00 hearing.
    Never blindside a legislator’s bill in committee. If you have an issue, go see them first.
    Common courtesy is a valuable asset in Springfield.
    You aren’t the first lobbyist, not the best and more people (some better qualified than you) are already here or on their way.
    All glory is fleeting.
    There is no IQ test required to run for pubic office…nor is there one for lobbyists. There ought to be, but there isn’t.


  25. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    “I don’t know” is a valid answer, but then you need to go find the answer.

    Trust but verify.

    Allies and enemies are fleeting, malleable, and change with the confluence and divergence of issues. Be graceful to all.

    A friend - member, lobbyist, staff, whomever - is someone you hang with outside of the Capitol and Springfield. If you don’t do that, they aren’t really your friend, and it’s best not to mistake them for one.


  26. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    “Never blindside a legislator’s bill in committee. If you have an issue, go see them first.”

    Adding to this - never blindside anyone. If you have an interest in the bill, talk to the sponsor, staff, proponents and known opponents before working it. Sometimes that’s all the work you’ll have to do. In the other cases, you’ll get the respect of having talked to them first.


  27. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    …and if you can neither defeat, dilute a Bill enough or at all, nor defeat it, then, by God, accept it for what it is, passed by a lawful majority, and move on…!


  28. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    1. Return calls to members and staffers.
    2. Don’t ignore or over estimate agency legislative staff.
    3. Never, ever, never, ever, lie to Rich Miller or Bernie Schoenburg.


  29. - dupage dan - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    Ignore CapFax at your own risk.

    “Bite Me” is not Rich’s way of asking you out to lunch.


  30. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    Forgot one, perhaps the most important:

    Manage your client’s expectations appropriately


  31. - Columbo - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    “Friends in this business come and go, but enemies accumulate”


  32. - A guy... - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    If you don’t know, ask McClain.


  33. - DuPage - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Do not make promises you can’t keep.


  34. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 7, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    If you have no intention of ever supporting or even remaining neutral on a bill, don’t whine when you’re not invited to the negotiations.


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