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Interest Groups Past and Present: The “Mischiefs of Faction”

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1 Interest Groups Past and Present: The “Mischiefs of Faction”
A Nation of Interests The founders of the Republic referred to what are present day interest groups as Factions. James Madison foresaw “factions” as an inevitable development, with tendency toward “instability and injustice.” Interest groups are also sometimes called “special interests.” Some Americans identify with groups distinguished by race, gender, ethnicity, age, occupation, or sexual orientation. Others form groups based on common issues or interests, i.e. gun control, tax reduction, education. Such groups or associations that seek to influence government in some way are called Interest Groups. The founders of the Republic were very worried about groups with common interests, which they called factions. James Madison played a critical role in drafting and enacting the Constitution, and many of its provisions are aimed at limiting the “mischiefs of faction.” Interest Groups: Organizations outside the government that attempt to influence the government’s behavior, decision-making, and allocation of resources. Politicians and the media often use the term “special interests” in a pejorative way. What makes an interest group a “special” one? The answer is highly subjective. One person’s special interest is another’s public interest. The term “special interest” conveys a selfish or narrow view, one that may lack credibility. For this reason, we use the neutral term “interest groups.” An interest group simply speaks for some, but not all, of us. A democracy includes many interests and many organized interest groups.

2 Interest Groups Past and Present: The “Mischiefs of Faction”
Social Movements – a large body of people who are interested in a common issue, idea, or concern that is of continuing significance and who are willing to take action to support or oppose it. Interest groups sometimes begin as movements. Social movements represent groups that has felt unrepresented by government. How do they differ? Interest groups usually work within the framework of government and employ tactics such as lobbying to achieve their goals. Movements seek to change attitudes or institutions, not just policies. Examples of social movements include the civil rights, environmental, anti-tax, animal rights, women’s rights, Christian Right, gay rights, anti-immigration, and antiwar movements. In some respects, the Tea Party groups that formed in 2009 and 2010 are examples of social movements. They, like other social movements, represent a group that has felt unrepresented by government. Social movements often arise at the grassroots level and spread throughout the nation. As movements mature, they develop interest groups that pursue public policies. The Bill of Rights protects movements, popular or unpopular, by supporting free assembly, free speech, and due process. The Constitution envisions a plurality of groups competing with each other, an idea that has been called pluralism.

3 Types of Interest Groups
Economic Interest Groups Business – large corporations, including multinationals Trade and Other Associations – businesses with similar interests join together as associations which are as diverse as the product and services they provide. Labor – workers’ associations with shared interests, ranging from professional standards to wage and working conditions. Examples: American Farm Bureau Federation, United Farm Workers Association, AFL-CIO. Open shops – union membership cannot required Closed shops – union membership can be required Free riders – individual not in the union but who benefits from union activity. Economic interests pursue what benefits them both financially and politically. Businesses with similar interests join together as trade associations, as diverse as the products and services they provide Labor unions are one of the most important groups representing workers, yet the American workforce is the least unionized of almost any industrial democracy. Union membership is optional in states whose laws permit the open shop, in which workers cannot be required to join a union as a condition of employment. In states with the closed shop, workers may be required to join a union to be hired at a particular company if most employees at that company vote to unionize. When a person benefits from the work or service of an organization like a union (or even a public TV or radio station) without joining or contributing to it, this condition is referred to as the free rider problem

4 Union Membership in the U.S. Compared to Other Countries

5 Labor Force and Union Membership 1930-2010

6 Types of Interest Groups (continued)
Economic Interest Groups (continued) Professional Associations – professional associations with shared interests. Examples: American Medical Association, American Bar Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Realtors Assoc. Ideological or Single-Issue Interest Groups Public Interest Groups (PIRGs) Seek to influence policy on Capitol Hill and in several state legislatures on environmental issues, safe energy, and consumer protection. Foreign Policy Interest Groups Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs ) The ACLU is an example of an ideological interest group. Single interest groups focus on highly specialized political issues. Common Cause is an example of a public interest group Foreign policy: interest groups also organize to promote or oppose foreign policies. Among the most prestigious is the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. The most common NGOs are social, cultural, or environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the Humane Society of the United States.

7 Types of Interest Groups (continued)
Government & Government Employee Interest Groups Governments are themselves important interest groups. Government employees form a large and well-organized group. Public employees are increasingly important to organized labor because they constitute the fastest- growing unions. Other Interest Groups Veteran’s groups Nationality groups Religious organizations Environmental groups The National Education Association (NEA) has 3.2 million members. The NEA endorses politicians from both parties but more typically supports Democrats. NEA fits the definition of a professional association, labor union, and public sector interest group. American adults are often emotionally and financially engaged by a wide variety of groups: veterans’ groups, nationality groups, and religious organizations, among others. Individuals join groups because of a shared identification, or because of a common issue or concern. An area of increasing activity is environmental groups.

8 Types of Interest Groups: Ideological or Single-Interest Groups
The Christian Coalition distributes voter guides before elections as one means of influencing politics

9 The National Rifle Association
AARP: The Nation’s Most Powerful Interest Group The National Rifle Association 36 million members Offers a wide array of material benefits like insurance and magazines One of the most influential lobbying groups in D.C.

10 Types of Interest Groups: Public Interest Groups
Ralph Nader - Ran for president as Green Party candidate in 1996 and 2000 and as independent in 2004 Foreign Policy Interest Groups Council on Foreign Relations American-Israel Political Action Committee Some interest groups focus on foreign policy issues, such as U.S. aid to Israel in light of Israel’s construction of a separation wall along the West Bank. Public Sector Interest Groups National Governors Association National League of Cities National Educational Association

11 Other Interest Groups - Some Environmental Groups and How They Do Business

12 Major Organized Interest Groups

13 Characteristics and Power of Interest Groups
Collective Action: Refers to how groups form and organize to pursue their goals or objectives, including how to get individuals and groups to participate and cooperate. Public Choice: Synonymous with “collective action.” Public choice specifically studies how government officials, politicians, and voters respond to positive and negative incentives. Collective Action has many applications in the various social sciences such as political science, sociology, and economics. Collective action (sometimes known as public choice) is challenging because of the free rider problem. Often benefits from group efforts are shared with everyone, including those who do not participate in the work of securing the benefit. Political scientists, sociologists, and economists have described the differing ways groups form and organize to pursue their goals or objectives.

14 Characteristics and Power of Interest Groups
Size and Resources Incentive to participate Cohesiveness Leadership Techniques Publicity and Mass Media Appeals Mass Mailing Direct Contact with Government Federal Register – an official document, published every weekday, listing the new and proposed regulations of executive departments and regulatory agencies. Organized groups have ready access to this to influence Congress. - Inspirational leadership can be instrumental in building membership

15 Interest Groups: Size and Resources
Resources can be used to provide selective benefits, which can be used to overcome organizational barriers Material benefits Solidarity benefits Purposive benefits Interest Groups: Cohesiveness Size is important to political power, an organization representing a million voters has more influence than one speaking for 5000. Incentive to participate—Interest groups offer tangible incentives to join such as exclusive magazines, travel benefits, professional meetings, job opportunities and discounts on insurance, merchandise and admission to cultural institutions. Resources—An important aspect of an interest group is its spread—the extent to which membership is concentrated and dispersed. Groups differ in the extent of their resources—money, volunteers, expertise and reputation which can influence many centers of power at the state and national levels of government. Most mass-membership organizations include three types of members: (1) a relatively small number of formal leaders who may hold full-time, paid positions or devote much time, effort, and money to the group’s activities; (2) a few hundred people intensely involved in the group who identify with its aims, attend meetings, pay dues, and do much of the legwork; and (3) thousands of people who are members in name only. Cohesiveness exists when these groups share common views on the aims of the organization. Types of members in an organization People intensely involved with the group People who are members in name only Small number of formal members

16 Leadership Profile Bruce S. Gordon
Marian Wright Edelman: Lobbyist for the Poor Founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund Founded the Washington Research Project Bruce S. Gordon Leadership: In a group that embraces many attitudes and interests, leaders may either weld the various elements together or sharpen their disunity. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2005 elected the president and CEO of the NAACP Successful businessman who was named one of the “50 most Powerful Black Executives” in 2002 by Fortune magazine

17 Characteristics and Power of Interest Groups
Techniques (continued) Litigation Amicus curiae (“friends of the court”) briefs – filed by an individual or organization to present arguments in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case. Election Activities Forming a Political Party Cooperative Lobbying Protest Candidate Support Publicity, Mass Media and the Internet—Interest groups use the media—television, radio, the Internet including Web sites, newspapers, leaflets, signs, direct mail, and word of mouth—to influence voters during elections and motivate them to contact their representatives between elections. Mass mailing—Today’s computerized mailing-list technology can target personalized letters to specific groups. Direct Contact with Government—Organized groups have ready access to the executive and regulatory agencies that write the rules implementing laws passed by Congress. Government agencies publish proposed regulations in the Federal Register and invite responses from all interested persons before the rules are finalized—in the “notice and comments” period. Litigation—When groups find the political channels closed to them, they may turn to the courts. In addition to initiating lawsuits, associations can gain a forum for their views in the courts by filing amicus curiae briefs (literally, “friend of the court” briefs filed by an individual or organization to present arguments in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case. Individuals associated with interest groups give to campaigns to make it clear to the candidate the interest of the donor. Often one party gathers contributions from several individuals and then gives the checks made out to the candidate’s campaign in a bundle, a process called bundling. This can also be done via the computer. Forming a political party — not so much to win elections as to publicize a cause. Success in such cases may occur when a major party co-opts the interest group’s issue. Like-minded groups often form cooperative groups. In 1987, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and People for the American Way brought together many groups to defeat the nomination of outspoken federal judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. Protest—To generate interest and broaden support for their cause, movements and groups often use protest demonstrations. Candidate Support—Many interest groups publicly endorse candidates for office, either directly by issuing a statement or hosting an event, or indirectly by publishing scorecards of how candidates responded to roll call votes or questionnaires.



20 Other Techniques Pictures of Grape Boycott led by Cesar Chavez, teachers in downtown Los Angeles protesting state budget cuts for education, and PETA. Groups often use protest to generate interest and to bring support to their cause.

21 The Influence of Lobbyists
Who are the Lobbyists? A person or persons employed by and acting for an organized interest group or corporation to try to influence policy decisions and positions in the executive and legislative branches. What do Lobbyists Do? Engage in activities aimed at influencing public officials, especially legislators and the policies they enact. Lobbyists primarily provide money for campaigns. The Iron Triangle Origins of term “lobbying”: refers to the lobby or hallway outside the House and Senate chambers in the U.S. Capitol and to those who hung around the lobby of the old Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., when presidents dined there. The noun “lobby” is now used as a verb. The term “lobbying” was not generally used until around the mid-nineteenth century in the United States. Lobbyists help prepare legislation, testify before legislative hearings, and contribute a large share of the costs of campaigns. There are over 1 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, several thousand of which registered as lobbyists in Washington, D.C. What else do Lobbyists do: Socializing, Providing information, Grass-roots mobilization, Protests and demonstrations, Coalition building, Boycotts 21

22 The Influence of Lobbyists
Who Are the Lobbyists? Lobbyists are former public servants. Lobbyists are experienced in government. Lobbyists often go to work for one of the interests they dealt with while in government. What Do Lobbyists Do? Many lobbyists participate in issue networks or relationships among interest groups, congressional committees, subcommittees, and government agencies that share a common policy concern. Interest groups provide money for incumbents. Interest groups provide information of two important types. The typical image of policy making is of powerful, hard-nosed lobbyists who use a combination of knowledge, persuasiveness, personal influence, charm, and money to influence legislators and bureaucrats. Moving from a government job to a job with an interest group—or vice versa—is so common that this career path is called the revolving door. Revolving door refers to an employment cycle in which individuals who work for government agencies that regulate interests eventually end up working for interest groups or businesses with the same policy concern. Personal relationships among members of these groups can sometimes allow these networks to become so strong and mutually beneficial that they form a sort of sub-government. Legal and political skills, along with specialized knowledge, are so crucial in executive and legislative policy making that they have become a form of power in themselves. Elected representatives increasingly depend on their staff for guidance. 22

23 Greg Craig’s position in a law firm after leaving as White House Counsel may not be considered a “revolving door” issue, but it does raise some concerns. 23

24 The Influence of Lobbyists
What Do Lobbyists Do? (cont.) Interest groups sometimes attempt to influence legislators and regulators by going directly to the people and urging them to contact public officials. Money and Politics Interest groups seek to influence politics and public policy by spending money on elections in several ways. to candidates for their election campaigns, especially in contested races. to political parties. to other interest groups. to the members of their group, including employees. To members of Congress, the single most important thing lobbyists provide is money for their next reelection campaign. One limit on the power of lobbyists is the competition among interest groups. Interest groups provide information of two important types, political and substantive. Political information includes such matters as who supports or opposes legislation, including the executive branch, and how strongly they feel about it. Substantive information, such as the impact of proposed laws, may not be available from any other source. Interest groups sometimes influence legislators and regulators through television advertising but also through mail, , and banner ads on the Internet. 24

25 Money and Politics The Growth of Political Action Committees PACs
PACs – the political arm of an interest group that is legally entitled to raise funds on a voluntary basis from members, stockholders, or employees in order to contribute to favored candidates or political parties. Types of PACs: Corporations Trade and health organizations Labor unions Ideological organizations PACs link two vital techniques of influence—giving money and other political aid to politicians and persuading officeholders to act or vote ‘the right way” on issues. PACs are one important means by which interest groups seek to influence which legislators are elected and what they do once they take office. PACs grew in number and importance in the 1970s, in part because of campaign finance reform legislation enacted in that decade. The number of registered PACs rose from 608 in 1974 to 4,611. 25

26 Money and Politics Political Action Committees (cont.)
More recently, elected officials have begun to form their own PACs called Leadership PACs. Leaderships PACs are formed by an officeholder who collects contributions from individuals and other PACs and then makes contributions to other candidates and political parties. PACs are important not only because they contribute such a large share of the money congressional candidates raise for their campaigns but also because they contribute so disproportionately to incumbents. Leadership PACs, were initially a tool of aspiring congressional leaders to curry favor with candidates in their political party. For example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a leadership PAC that raised and spent more than $1 million dollars in the 2000, 2002, and 2004 election cycles each, and more than $900,000 in 2008. PACs take part in the entire election process, but their main influence lies in their capacity to contribute money to candidates. PACs give to the most influential incumbents, to committee chairs, to party leaders and whips, and to the Speaker of the House. 26

27 Professional Associations - PACs That Gave the Most to during the election cycle (millions of dollars) Total PAC amount Democrats Republicans Operating Engineers Union % 14% International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker AT&T National Association of Realtors Machinists-Aerospace Workers American Association for Justice American Bankers Association National Beer Wholesalers Association Laborers Union International Association of Fire Fighters Source: Center for Responsive Politics based on data released by the Federal Elections Commission, April 28, 2008 According to AP: DNC raised $82.3 million, Republicans raised $166 million this campaign cycle. 27

28 PAC Contributions to Congressional Candidates
1998–2008. Contributions to Candidates for U.S. Congress, 1975–2008 (in Millions). 28

29 Money and Politics Political Action Committees (cont.)
The law limits the amount of money that PACs, like individuals, can contribute to any single candidate in an election cycle. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) doubled individual contribution limits and mandated that they increase with inflation while leaving PAC contribution limits unchanged. Raising money from PACs is more efficient for a candidate than raising it from individuals. PAC contributions to any federal candidate have been limited to $10,000 per election cycle (primary and general elections), whereas individuals are limited to $4,800 per candidate in the election cycle. PAC contributions are especially made to committee chairs and party leaders. To reinforce this relationship, the Republicans developed a strategy, the “K Street Project,” to do even better in getting PAC contributions. (K Street in Washington, D.C., houses many of the lobbying and law firms that represent trade associations and corporations that make contributions.) Since the Democratic party took control of Congress in 2007, some PACs have changed loyalties. Mobilization is accomplished through targeted communications at the workplace, through the mail, on the telephone, or on the Internet. Originally justified as an exception to contribution limits to help the political parties by funding get-out-the-vote drives or party appeals that are not specific, soft money came to be used for candidate-specific electioneering. Other Modes of Electioneering Another way interest groups can influence the outcome of elections is by persuading their employees, members, or stockholders to vote in a way consistent with the interests of the group. 29

30 Other Modes of Electioneering (cont.)
Until the 2004 election cycle, interest groups and individuals could avoid the contribution limitation to political parties by contributing so-called soft money to political parties. Soft money is money raised in unlimited amounts by political parties for party-building purposes. Issue Ads: Interest groups could also help fund so-called issue ads supporting or opposing candidates as long as the ads did not use certain words. Independent Expenditures The Supreme Court has ruled that individuals, groups, and parties can spend unlimited amounts in campaigns for or against candidates as long as they operate independently from the candidates. When an individual, group, or party does so, they are making an independent expenditure. Soft money is illegal except for limited contributions to state or local parties for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts. The Supreme Court in 1976 declared that limits on independent expenditures were unconstitutional when the contributions or expenditures were truly independent of a party or candidate. Independent expenditures are unlimited but must be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Groups that have made heavy use of independent expenditures include MoveOn PAC, NRA, EMILY’s List, several unions, National Right to Life PAC, the Club for Growth, and the National Association of Realtors I Independent expenditures enable groups to direct unlimited accounts of money to a particular race. 30

31 Money and Politics Campaigning Through Other Groups
Interest groups found a way to circumvent disclosure and contribution limits through issue advocacy. Use of ads that avoided the words “vote for” or “elect” but which were clearly for one candidate In this image from one of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’s television advertisements, then-presidential nominee John Kerry’s patriotism and Vietnam War record are called into question. Labor unions were the first to exploit this tactic in a major way, spending an estimated $35 million in 1996, mostly against Republican candidates. In the post-campaign reform elections of 2004, 2006, and 2008, interest groups continued to mount their own campaigns against or for candidates in ways similar to the old issue advocacy. Groups like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are called 527 organizations. 527 organization is a political group organized under section 527 of the IRS Code that may accept and spend unlimited amounts of money on election activities so long as they are not spent on broadcast ads run in the last 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election in which a clearly identified candidate is referred to and a relevant electorate is targeted. Interest groups also used other sections of the tax code to involve themselves in the election. Section 501(c) of the tax code permits some groups to organize, and for some purposes such as nonpartisan voter registration drives, donations to the group are tax deductible. 31

32 How Much Do Interest Groups Influence Elections and Legislation?
Because PACs give more money to incumbents, challengers have difficulty funding their campaigns and have to rely more on individual contributors. Mass-membership organizations fail to mobilize their full membership in elections, while they can effectively mobilize when their interests are directly attacked. Only a fraction of any candidates funds come from a single group. It is debatable how much campaign contributions affect elections. There is no guarantee that money produces a payoff in legislation. Even with the larger individual contribution limits allowed in 2004 and since, most challengers still had less money than their incumbent opponents. Numerous groups seek to mobilize their membership in elections. They create Websites for members to obtain information about their view of candidates and provide voter registration materials and absentee ballot request forms. Too many cross-pressures operate in the pluralistic politics of the United States for any one group to assume a commanding role. 32

33 The Effectiveness of Interest Group Activity in Elections
Tendency of PACs to give money to incumbents has meant that challengers face real difficulties in getting their campaigns funded. “Too often, members’ first thought is not what is right or what they believe, but how it will affect fundraising. Who, after all, can seriously contend that a $100,000 donation does not alter the way one thinks about--and quite possibly votes on--an issue?” - Former U. S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) 33

34 How Much Do Interest Groups Influence Elections and Legislation?
Curing the Mischiefs of Faction: Regulating lobbying Regulating political money Serious campaign finance reform began in the 1970s with the Federal Election Campaign Act (1973) Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, the definition of a lobbyist was expanded to include part- time lobbyists, those who deal with congressional staff or executive branch agencies, and those who represent foreign-owned companies and foreign entities. James Madison would still be concerned about the power or “mischiefs of faction” especially its tendency to foster instability and injustice. Concern about the evils of interest groups has been a recurrent theme throughout U.S. history. Single-issue interest groups organized for or against particular policies—abortion, handgun control, tobacco subsidies, animal rights—have aroused increasing concern in recent years. One of the main arguments against interest groups is that they do not represent people equally. Concern over the use of money—especially corporate funds—to influence politicians goes back more than a century, to the administration of Ulysses S. Grant in the 1870s, when members of Congress promoted the Crédit Mobilier construction company in exchange for the right to make huge profits by buying its stock below market value. In 1921, President Warren G. Harding’s administration allowed private companies to secretly lease public land in order to extract oil that had been reserved for the navy. In response to this “Teapot Dome scandal,” Congress passed the Federal Corrupt Practices Act of 1925. It required disclosure reports, both before and after elections, of receipts and expenditures by Senate and House candidates and by political committees that sought to influence federal elections in more than one state. Note that these were federal laws applying to federal elections; the states were left to regulate their own lobbying and elections. Federal legislation was not very effective and was loosely enforced, so during the 1960s Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971(FECA) amended in 1974. Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 expanded the definition of a lobbyist to include part-timers, increased the disclosure requirement, and required lawyer-lobbyists for foreign entities to register; Requires lobbyists to register and report payments. 34

35 Curing the Mischiefs of Faction–Two Centuries Later
The 2002 Campaign Finance Reforms In 1992, President George H.W. Bush vetoed a bill. Increased momentum with Sen. John McCain and Enron collapse. The Effects of Regulation Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 signed by George W. Bush limiting soft money and PAC contributions. 35

36 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
Passed in 2002 to update FECA of 1973. Outlaws use of soft money. Limits individual and political action committee funds. Political parties become larger players. Allows donations from “leadership PACs.” Does not regulate use of personal money. Regulates the use of public and matching funds. The 1996 election was a watershed in the involvement of interest groups and individuals in financing campaigns Contribution Limits 36

37 Curing the Mischiefs of Faction–Two Centuries Later
2007 Honest Leadership and Open Government Act Bans gifts, toughens disclosure, increases time limits. Other Attempts: 1978 Ethics in Government Act New 2007 Honest Leadership and Open Government Act which bans gifts, toughens disclosure, increases time limits. Executive regulated by 1978 Ethics in Government Act. Now, politicians must get small amounts of money from many sources, with an exception for “soft” money. 37

38 ________ is an example of a public interest group.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored people (NAACP) Planned Parenthood Chambers of Commerce National Education Association d 38

39 PACs that collect contributions from a number of individuals and present them as a single package to a candidate engage in the practice of ________. Targeting Bundling Giving soft money Influence peddling b 39

40 Ralph Nader, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the NAACP have depended heavily upon ______ to influence public policy. campaign contributions persuasion direct action litigation d 40

41 The 2002 campaign finance reform law bans
Hard money Soft money PACs Funny money b 41

42 According to the 2002 law, how much can an individual contribute to a federal candidate in the general election? $1,000 $2,000 $4,000 $10,000 b 42

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