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Interest Groups Chapter 9. Explaining Proliferation K Street is the SIG ghetto – 7,000 offices There is much division of ideas in this country and this.

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Presentation on theme: "Interest Groups Chapter 9. Explaining Proliferation K Street is the SIG ghetto – 7,000 offices There is much division of ideas in this country and this."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interest Groups Chapter 9

2 Explaining Proliferation K Street is the SIG ghetto – 7,000 offices There is much division of ideas in this country and this is how they all have a voice Our constitution allows for multiple points of access (3 branches of equal power)

3 The Birth of Interest Groups Sons of Liberty, religious groups, antislavery groups, the Grange and NAACP are among the first More than half the interest groups that exist today were formed in the 60s and 70s. 4 factors: broad economic developments create new interests and redefine old one Government policy creates SIGs veterans, farmers, unions During times of grand movements: burned over district, 1960s civil rights The more the government undertakes the more people are interested in influencing the gov.

4 Kinds of Organizations Interest Group – organization that seeks to influence public policy These organizations can be split into institutional and membership interests

5 Institutional Interests Individuals or organizations representing other organizations Hired guns, professional law firms that represent huge broad things US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of the Counties They can represent – governments, foundations, universities, public transit etc…

6 NACo (An example of a SIG) The National Association of Counties (NACO) was created in 1935 when county officials wanted to have a strong voice in the nation's capital. More than six decades later, NACO continues to ensure that the nation's 3067 counties are heard and understood in the White House and the halls of Congress. NACO's membership totals almost 2,000 counties, representing over 80 percent of the nation's population. NACO is a full-service organization that provides an extensive line of services including legislative, research, and technical as well as public affairs assistance to its members. The association: Acts as a liaison with other levels of government Works to improve public understanding of counties Serves as a national advocate for counties and provides them with resources to help them find innovative methods to meet the challenges they face Is involved in a number of special projects that deal with such issues as the environment, sustainable communities, volunteerism and intergenerational studies

7 Membership Interest NAACP, Sierra Club, PTA, LWV, AARP, Rotary Club, American Legion, NRA, ACLU As mentioned before, Americans are more apt to join a political organization than other countries but just because you are African American doesnt mean that you re going to join the NAACP, they must have a special incentive

8 ACLU (Another example)

9 Incentives to Join Solidary Incentive – status, companionship, local chapters, support groups etc… Material incentive – money, benefits, services Farmers get discounts, AARP gets lower life insurance premiums, prescription drug benefits, Purposive incentive – the appeal of their stated goals (ideological people magnet)

10 Public interest lobby group that works to benefit the nonmembers (The Nader Movement) When Nader made his money he started (PIRGS) – local groups aimed at helping the common good staffed by college volunteers

11 One of the shining examples of the student movement is the student Public Interest Research Groups ( PIRGs ). With the help of our organizers, this campus-based phenomenon that started in 1970 has grown broader and deeper on campuses throughout the country. Students in Oregon and Minnesota launched the first PIRGs. After the initial success in these two pioneering states, attorney and organizer Donald Ross and I wrote a book titled: Action for a Change: A Students Manual for Public Interest Organizing.

12 The Influence of the Staff The staff of the group often dominates a SIGs agenda, not the membership Again, staff members tend to be more ideologically centered and do not represent the majority of the membership

13 Interest Groups and Social Movements Social movement – a widely shared demand for change in a certain amount of time, Purposive incentive SIGS get a good chunk of their membership at this time

14 The Environmental Movement 1890s, 1930s and 1960s major environmental movements – Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Environment Defense Fund (very liberal) all spawned from this movement

15 The Feminist Movement 1920s League of Women Voters, NOW, NARAL, NWPC (Liberal), NFRW (Conservative)

16 The Union Movement 1890s to 1930 huge labor movements lead to strong labor unions, since the great depression labor unions have lost membership %, % Reasons? Economy has changed, views on labor unions have changed, but the unions wont die. They have incentives to join that are still appealing AFL-CIO

17 Funds for Interest Groups Membership groups have trouble raising money and have small office. (Dues) Institutional groups have no trouble raising money and have lavish offices. Foundation Grants Ford foundation, Rockefeller Family Fund, Scaife foundation give tons of money to SIGS in the forms of grants Federal Grants and Contracts Federal grants go not to SIGS, but to the activities of SIGS that will benefit all. Direct Mail Target key groups and solicit them for funds (pg 230)

18 The Problem of Bias SIGS reflect an upper class bias? Poor people do not join as often as well off, and SIGS representing professional and business are better financed than groups representing minorities consumers, and or handicapped (Table 9.3) In political conflict the resources at ones disposal can often tip the scales into you favor

19 The Activities of Interest Groups In terms of size and wealth of SIGs bigger is not always better. A quick guide to how SIGs and PACs advance their cause

20 Information Politicians are too busy to become experts on every issue. The SIG whos lobbyist provides the best info in an organized, persuasive, and factual manner will win the day. Trust is key! Political cues – busy politicians will simply ask what SIGs are for an issue and what SIGs are against it. Ratings – many SIGs give a score card on legislators to rank how the vote on certain issues

21 Public Support: Rise of the New Politics Old school - insider strategy – tight with a few key members of congress and exchange info and favors over diner or golf. New School – Outsider strategy – congress is more individualistic and each legislator in concerned with their public image, Fax machine, , internet are essential with disseminating information, creating polls, routing phone calls to congressional office, mail bombarding by a small yet passionate group, because lets face it most people dont care. Public threats, scolding of officials, labeling This can go both ways however… NRA is not as powerful as it once was because of its image

22 Money and the PACs Campaign finance reform laws of 1973 sharply restricted the amount tht any SIG could give to federal candidates, but it made it legal for corporations and labor unions to form as many PACs as they want. Since 1973 PACs have increased over 7 times!!!!!! This is good because it is more likely that no matter the issue there are multiple PACs making money available on all sides of every issue Also PACs can give only small amounts so it is arguable that they really are a factor in buying elections: sp?cycle=2006&Type=E sp?cycle=2006&Type=E

23 The Revolving Door Many politicians after leaving office often have cush jobs with companies and PACs is there secret deals going on, no one knows, too hard to prove. This could be a problem with PACs

24 Trouble SIGs and PACs dont just use money and information to get their point across. Sit-ins, protests bombings and lynching have all been used as ways to gain attention to their cause. Politicians must deal with this as well.

25 Regulating Interest Groups Pg 241

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