We put ‘principled advocacy’ in our new logo. Here’s why.
In surveys, Americans rank lobbyists and public affairs professionals at the bottom of the list for honesty and ethics. Political candidates berate lobbyists for wielding too much influence over legislation and government regulation. The average person pictures lobbyists as people in flashy suits with wads of cash in their pocket.
We don’t wear flashy suits or carry wads of cash. We value honesty and are committed to integrity in our advocacy. Principled advocacy is our mission statement and a reflection of our reputation. It’s who we are, which is why we added it to our name.
Since our inception in 1990, CFM has advocated for clients before Congress, the Oregon legislature, local jurisdictions and the court of public opinion. We have represented corporations, nonprofits, coalitions, public agencies and a few individuals. On behalf of clients, we have sought new laws, opposed bills and secured appropriations and competitive grants. We have helped clients deal with crisis, advance major projects and strengthen communications with a wide range of audiences.
We aren’t ashamed of what we do or who we do it for, such as lobbying to lower prescription drug prices, encouraging increased federal funding for public transit and problem-solving for a major new regional water source. We believe our principled advocacy accounts for the real results we have delivered to our clients.
We do our homework before making a case to public officials, the general public or the news media to ensure what we say is fair and accurate. We don’t deny opposing facts; we address them with our side of the story. We don’t trim the truth, even when it doesn’t support our case. We don’t embellish the truth, even if it would make our arguments stronger. We have a reputation as straight shooters, as advocates whose words are trustworthy.
Many of us have worked in government. All of us respect the role of government, the responsibility of elected officials and the dedication of public sector managers. We understand our role as advocates stops when it’s time for elected officials to vote and journalists to write their stories.
We participate in the political process, but we share the common concern over the corrosive role of ‘big money” influence in government at all levels. Our contributions are modest – on purpose.
CFM is not the only government and public affairs firm with committed to principled advocacy. But we don’t want to be confused with firms that play fast and loose with their principles. Putting the phrase “principled advocacy” in our name is a good way to remind us of our commitment – and to warrant that commitment to current, past and future clients. We couldn’t think of a better time to seal our commitment to principled advocacy than our 30th anniversary as a firm.
Public skepticism and distrust of government has risen to dangerous levels. We feel a responsibility to contribute in whatever way possible to rebuilding public trust through the example of principled advocacy. As advocates, we can be better. And we must be better.
Joel Rubin and Dale Penn II