THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR LOBBYING & ETHICS (NILE) strives to serve the needs of advocacy professionals by offering a professional association and an avenue for continuing education.
We seek to provide a unified voice for our industry – to combat the campaign rhetoric that paints all of us in a bad light.
We will actively look for opportunities to showcase all the positive contributions our members are making to advance the public policy dialogue.
We will diligently uphold our commitment to ethical standards and integrity.
In addition, we will provide opportunities for personal and professional development through a variety of avenues, including our signature Public Policy Certificate program.
Offering a professional "home" for those involved in government affairs & public policy.
The National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics (NILE) was founded by veteran lobbyist Paul A. Miller of the firm Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies and a group of like-minded professionals.
Lobbying has changed so drastically in just the last several years, and is no longer limited to just calling on Members and their staff for a chance to state your case one-on-one. With the prevalence of social media and advances in technology, the ability to reach broader audiences and further influence public policy has increased exponentially.
As an organization, we feel it is imperative to stay ahead of the curve and be as inclusive as possible, so that anyone engaged in influencing public policy, from “traditional” lobbyists, to grassroots outreach operatives, social media engagement specialists, public relations officers, and beyond, would feel like they had a professional “home” in NILE with opportunities for career development, networking, and socialization.
Therefore, we offer a wide range of membership opportunities, from individuals to organizations and everything in-between. We invite you to learn more about membership options here.
Providing specialized courses in public policy and related areas that help busy professionals keep pace with an ever-changing environment.
The National Institute For Lobbying & Ethics Public Policy Certificate (PPC) program is designed to provide lobbyists, government affairs, grassroots, social media, public relations, and corporate/association professionals at all levels, the necessary professional education they need to keep pace with an ever-changing environment.
Our program offers a combination of core elements of public policy combined with courses that meet your career objectives. Public policy continues to change every year, and we help you tailor a program that balances the basics with courses that meet your career goals.
For those who started and couldn’t finish other programs, we will allow you to transfer your credits over to our program.
Learn more about the PPC program and enrollment here.
Our Executive Leadership
Michelle Ly is the Advocacy Programs Manager for NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. At NTCA she represents the rural telecommunications industry on Capitol Hill, manages the operations of their political action…
Thomas F. (Tommy) Goodwin is the Government Relations Manager for the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project, program, and portfolio management profession.…
Professional Code of Ethics
This professional code of conduct is recognized by the profession, clients and employers as the standard by which the profession should adhere and conduct itself. Members of our organization are required to accept this code as a condition of membership.
ARTICLE I – HONESTY & INTEGRITY
A lobbyist should conduct lobbying activities with honesty and integrity.
1.1. A lobbyist should be truthful in communicating with public officials and with other interested persons and should seek to provide factually correct, current and accurate information.
1.2. If a lobbyist determines that the lobbyist has provided a public official or other interested person with factually inaccurate information of a significant, relevant, and material nature, the lobbyist should promptly provide the factually accurate information to the interested person.
1.3. If a material change in factual information that the lobbyist provided previously to a public official causes the information to become inaccurate and the lobbyist knows the public official may still be relying upon the information, the lobbyist should provide accurate and updated information to the public official.
ARTICLE II – COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS, REGULATIONS & RULES
A lobbyist should comply fully with all laws, regulations and rules applicable to the lobbyist.
2.1. A lobbyist should be familiar with laws, regulations and rules applicable to the lobbying profession and should not engage in any violation of such laws, regulations and rules.
2.2. A lobbyist should comply with all campaign finance laws, regulations and rules. Additionally, a lobbyist should remain informed on updates in campaign finance laws that affect their rights and responsibilities, as a lobbyist and a citizen, under the First Amendment right to participate in the political process.
2.3. A lobbyist should not cause a public official to violate any law, regulation or rule applicable to such public official.
ARTICLE III – PROFESSIONALISM
A lobbyist should conduct lobbying activities in a fair and professional manner.
3.1. A lobbyist should have a basic understanding of the legislative and governmental process and such specialized knowledge as is necessary to represent clients or an employer in a competent, professional manner.
3.2. A lobbyist should maintain the lobbyist’s understanding of governmental processes and specialized knowledge through appropriate methods such as continuing study, seminars and similar sessions in order to represent clients or an employer in a competent, professional manner.
3.3. A lobbyist should treat others — both allies and adversaries — with respect and civility.
3.4. A lobbyist should participate in continuing education and training programs, including those addressing compliance with laws, rules, and ethical standards applicable to the profession, on an annual basis.
ARTICLE IV – CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
A lobbyist should not continue or undertake representations that may create conflicts of interest without the informed consent of the client or potential client involved.
4.1. A lobbyist should avoid advocating a position on an issue if the lobbyist is also representing another client on the same issue with a conflicting position.
4.2. If a lobbyist’s work for one client on an issue may have a significant adverse impact on another client’s interests, the lobbyist should inform and obtain consent from the other client whose interests may be affected of this fact even if the lobbyist is not representing the other client on the same issue.
4.3. A lobbyist should disclose all known conflicts to the client or prospective client and discuss and resolve the conflict issues promptly.
4.4. A lobbyist should inform the client if any other person is receiving a direct or indirect referral or consulting fee from the lobbyist due to or in connection with the client’s work and the amount of such fee or payment.
ARTICLE V – DUE DILIGENCE & BEST EFFORTS
A lobbyist should vigorously and diligently advance and advocate the client’s or employer’s interests.
5.1. A lobbyist should devote time, attention, and resources to the client’s or employer’s interests that are commensurate with client expectations, agreements, and compensation.
5.2. A lobbyist should exercise loyalty to the client’s or employer’s interests.
5.3. A lobbyist should keep the client or employer informed regarding the work that the lobbyist is undertaking and, to the extent possible, should give the client the opportunity to choose between various options and strategies.
ARTICLE VI – COMPENSATION AND ENGAGEMENT TERMS
6.1. A lobbyist who is retained by a client should have a written agreement with the client regarding the terms and conditions for the lobbyist’s services, including the amount of and basis for compensation. The agreement should include the subject of expenses, and the lobbyists should charge only those expenditures made on behalf of the client and in furtherance of the objective pursued on the client’s behalf.
6.2. The fees charged by a lobbyist should be reasonable, taking into account the facts and circumstances of the engagement.
6.3. A lobbyist shall disclose to other clients and, if requested, to government officials the existence of any agreement for the receipt of contingent fees or bonuses for obtaining or preventing the enactment of legislation.
6.4. Upon termination of representation, a lobbyist should take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect an employer’s or client’s interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the employer or client, allowing time for employment of another lobbyist, and surrendering papers and property to which the employer or client is entitled.
ARTICLE VII – CONFIDENTIALITY
A lobbyist should maintain appropriate confidentiality of client or employer information.
7.1. A lobbyist should not disclose confidential information without the client’s or employer’s informed consent.
7.2. A lobbyist should not use confidential client information against the interests of a client or employer or for any purpose not contemplated by the engagement or terms of employment.
ARTICLE VIII – PUBLIC EDUCATION
8.1. A lobbyist should seek to ensure better public understanding and appreciation of the nature, legitimacy and necessity of lobbying in our democratic governmental process. This includes the First Amendment right to “petition the government for redress of grievances.”
8.2. A lobbyist is encouraged to devote a not insubstantial amount of time each year to providing lobbying or related services to persons or organizations that are pursuing objectives that advance the public good, but who do not have the resources to compensate lobbyists to represent them in that endeavor.
ARTICLE IX – DUTY TO GOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS
In addition to fulfilling duties and responsibilities to the client or employer, a lobbyist should exhibit proper respect for the governmental institutions before which the lobbyist represents and advocates clients’ interests.
9.1. A lobbyist should not act in any manner that will undermine public confidence and trust in the democratic governmental process.
9.2. A lobbyist should not act in a manner that shows disrespect for government institutions.
Are you available to speak to the press?
Yes! We are always happy to speak to the press about who we are and what we do! You can find more information on making a press inquiry on our News & Press page.
Certificate Program Questions
Who should take these courses?
Our PPC program is not just for entry level public-policy and governmental affairs professionals, but is a program professionals at all levels can benefit from. Our courses cater to a wide range of public policy influencers, from lobbyists & government affairs professionals, to social media, public relations, & grassroots engagement professionals, and any discipline in-between.
How long does it take to earn a certificate?
You will have two years from the date of your first course to finish the complete program, which consists of 12 individual courses (4 core courses and 8 electives of your choice).