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Chapter 11: Interest Groups AP United States Government and Politics.

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1 Chapter 11: Interest Groups AP United States Government and Politics

2 Proliferation of Interest Groups  Many kinds of cleavage in the country  Constitution makes for many access points  Public laws favor the non-profit sector  Section 501(c)(3) organizations  Section 501(c)(4) organizations  Political parties are weak

3 Birth of Interest Groups  Periods of rapid growth  Since 1960, 70 percent have established an office in Washington D.C.  1770s, independence groups  1830s and 1840s, religious, antislavery groups  1860s, craft unions  1880s and 1890s, business associations  1900s and 1910, most major lobbies of today

4 Factors Explaining Rise of Interest Groups  Broad economic developments create new interests  Farmers produce cash crops  Mass production of industries  Government policy itself  Created veterans’ groups -- wars  Encouraged formation of Farm Bureau  Launched Chamber of Commerce  Favored growth of unions

5 Factors Explaining Rise of Interest Groups  Emergence of strong leaders, usually at certain times  Expanding role of government


7 Kinds of Organizations  Interest group: any organization that seeks to influence public policy  Institutional Interests: individuals or organizations representing other organizations  Types  Businesses: example, General Motors  Trade or governmental associations  Concerns -- bread-and-butter issues concern to their clients  Clearly defined, with homogeneous groups  Diffuse, with diversified groups  Other interests -- governments, foundations, universities

8 Kinds of Organizations  Membership Interests  Americans join some groups more frequently than people in other nations  Social, business, etc., same rate as elsewhere  Unions, less likely to join  Religious or civic groups, more likely to join  Greater sense of efficacy and duty explains the tendency to join civic groups  More sympathizers do not join because:  Individuals not that significant  Benefits flow to nonmembers too

9 Kinds of Organizations  Incentives to join  Solidary incentives -- pleasure, companionship (League of Women Voters, AARP, NAACP, Rotary)  Material incentives -- money, things, services (farm organizations, retired persons, etc)  Purpose of the organization itself -- public-interest organizations  Ideological interest groups’ appeal is controversial principles  Engage in research and bring lawsuits  Public-interest lobby

10 Kinds of Organizations  Influence of the staff  Many issues affect different members differently  Issues may be irrelevant to those joining for solidary or material benefits  Group efforts may reflect opinion of staff more than general membership

11 Interest Groups and Social Movements  Social movement is a widely shared demand for change  Environmental movement  Feminist movement: three kinds  Solidary -- LWV and others (widest support)  Purposive -- NOW, NARAL (strong position on divisive issues)  Caucus -- WEAL (material benefits)

12 Interest Groups and Social Movements  Union movement  Major movement occurred in the 1930s  Peak around 1945  Steady decline since, today about 10 percent of all workers  Explanations for the decline  Shift from industrial production to service delivery  Decline in popular approval of unions  Growth of unions composed of government workers

13 Funds for Interest Groups  Foundation grants  Expansion and cutbacks in federal grants affect interest groups  Support for projects undertaken  Large not-for-profits benefit when grants are awarded for services they provide  Efforts by Reagan and Bush to cut back and increase funds  Business and federal contracts

14 Funds for Interest Groups  Direct mail  Unique to modern interest groups through use of computers  Common Cause a classic example  Techniques  Teaser  Emotional arousal  Celebrity endorsement  Personalization of letter

15 Problem of Bias  Reasons for belief in upper-class bias  More affluent more likely to join  Business or professional groups more numerous  Why these facts do not decide the issue  Describe inputs but not outputs  Business groups often divide among themselves  Important to ask what the bias is  Many conflicts are within upper middle class  Resource differentials are clues, not conclusions


17 Activities of Interest Groups Information  Single most important tactic  Nonpolitical sources insufficient  Provide detailed, current information  Most effective on narrow, technical issues  Officials also need political cues --> ratings systems  Dissemination of information and cues via fax

18 Activities of Interest Groups Public Support: Rise of New Politics  Outsider strategy replacing insider strategy  New strategy leaders to controversy that politicians dislike  Key targets: the undecided  Some groups attack their likely allies to embarrass them  Legislators sometimes buck public opinion, unless issue important  Some groups try for grassroots support  Saccharin issue  “Dirty Dozen” environmental polluters  Few large, well-funded all-powerful interests (NRA)

19 Activities of Interest Groups Money and PACs  Money is the least effective way to influence politicians  Campaign finance reform law of 1973 had two effects  Restricted amount interest groups can give to candidates  Made it legal for corporations and unions to create PACs  Rapid growth in PACs has not led to vote buying  More money is available on all sides  Members of Congress take money but still decide how to vote

20 Activities of Interest Groups Money and PACs  Almost any organization can create a PAC  More than half of the PACs are sponsored by corporations  Recent increase in ideological PACs; one-third liberal, two- thirds conservative  Ideological PACs raise more but spend less because of the cost of raising money  In 2000 unions and business organizations gave most

21 Activities of Interest Groups Money and PACs  Incumbents get most PAC money  Business PACs split money between Democrats and Republicans  Democrats get most PAC money  PAC contributions small  No evidence PAC money influences votes in Congress  Most members vote their ideology  When issue is if little concern to voters, slight correlation but may be misleading  PAC money may influence in other ways, such as access  PAC money most likely to influence on client politics

22 Activities of Interest Groups The Revolving Door  Individuals leave important jobs in the federal government and go into lucrative positions in private industry  Some become lobbyists and there are concerns  Improper influence  Promise of positions upon leaving government  Some prominent examples, especially in the procurement process

23 Activities of Interest Groups Trouble  Disruption always part of American politics  Used by groups of varying ideologies  Better accepted since 1960s  History of proper persons using disruption: suffrage, civil rights, antiwar movements  Officials dread no-win situation


25 Regulating Interest Groups  Protection by First Amendment  1946 law accomplished little in requiring registration

26 Regulating Interest Groups  1995 lobby act enacted by Congress  Broadens definition of a lobbyist  Lobbyists must report twice annually  The names of clients  Their income and expenditures  The issues on which they worked  Exempts grassroots organizations  No enforcement organization created

27 Regulating Interest Groups  2007 reforms by Democrats  Gifts from registered lobbyists or firms that employ them  Reimbursement for travel costs from registered lobbyists or firms that employ them  Reimbursements for travel for trips organized or requested by registered lobbyists or firms that employ them  Impact of reforms?  Rules will probably be enforced “strictly speaking”  Exceptions, loopholes and need for clarification  Still room for evasion and abuse  Significant restraints prior to 1995 still in effect  Tax code: threat of losing exempt status  Campaign finance laws

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