Gumshoe lobbying

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 23 23:56:55 UTC 2010

I noticed this phrase in a NYTimes article about financial firms trying
to influence current legislation:
Financial Overhaul Bill Poses Big Test for Lobbyists
Published: May 22, 2010

“There’s no substitute for old-fashioned gumshoe lobbying,” Mr. Talbott
said. “The staff here knows it. We offer to resole their shoes when they
wear them out.”

This feels wrong. Gumshoes are the rubber covers put on leather shoes to
protect them from the rain and mud. I think the intended phrase was
"shoe-leather lobbying", which gets about 6400 google hits.

I found one historical usage, also in the NYTimes, back in 1921.
"We must set our house in order again, find out the truth of this
gumshoe lobbying (every legislator has a well-stocked wine cellar, I am
told -- ain't human nature wonderful?) and I doubt not that innumerable
anti-saloon folk draw plump checks every week to help pay for the high
cost of living at dry hotels." In this case, "gumshoe" seems to refer to
the protective nature of the (pro-Prohibition) lobbying, and have
nothing to do with "knocking on doors".


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list