Presentation on theme: "15 Interest Groups Television host Stephen Colbert and members of Colbert Nation celebrate the creation of a Super PAC for the 2012 election cycle."— Presentation transcript:
115Interest GroupsTelevision host Stephen Colbert and members of Colbert Nation celebrate the creation of a Super PAC for the 2012 election cycle.
215Video: The Big PictureIn this video, you will learn how interest groups influence politicians and public policy. Author Alixandra B. Yanus discusses the explosive rise of the number of interest groups over the past 40 years, and she weighs in on whether these groups are a positive or negative force.TO THE INSTRUCTOR: To access the videos in this chapter, please enter your Pearson or MyPoliSciLab username and password after clicking on the link on the slide.
315Learning ObjectivesTrace the roots of the American interest group system15.1Describe the historical development of American interest groups15.2We will begin our study of interest groups by tracing their origins and development historically. Then we will identify their political strategies and examine what makes them successful. Finally, we will look at efforts to reform them and rein in their political power.
415Learning ObjectivesIdentify several strategies and tactics used by organized interests15.3Analyze the factors that make an interest group successful15.4
515Learning ObjectivesExplain reform efforts geared toward regulating interest groups and lobbyists15.5
615Video: The BasicsWhat are interest groups and what role do they play in our democracy? Listen to real people tackle these and other questions. Learn what types of interest groups exist in our country, what tactics they use to achieve their goals, and why interest groups matter.
7Roots of the American Interest Group System 15.1Roots of the American Interest Group SystemTheories of Interest Group FormationKinds of Organized InterestsAs we’ve said, interest groups are organized collections of people or organizations that try to influence public policy. They differ from political parties because they do not run candidates for political office, though they may certainly support or oppose specific candidates. Interest groups go by many names, such as:special interestspressure groupsorganized interestsnongovernmental organizationspolitical groupslobby groups, andpublic interest groupsIn this section we will talk about the different theories of interest group formation and the different kinds of groups.
8Kinds of Interest Groups 15.1Kinds of Interest GroupsPublic Interest GroupsSeek a collective goodEconomic Interest GroupsPromote the economic interests of their membersGovernmental UnitsState and local governments lobby, tooPolitical Action CommitteesOfficially registered fundraising organizations that represent interest groupsInterest groups can take may forms, as we’ve already said. Public interest groups, for example, seek a collective good for a larger group of people. Both the Civil Rights movement and the Progressive Era’s push for better working and living conditions for immigrants fall under this category.Economic interest groups, on the other hand, exist to promote the economic interests of their members. These include trade and professional organizations such as the American Medical Association and labor groups such as the AFL-CIO.Next we have governmental units. In the increasingly complex world of federal policy and bureaucracy, state and local governments have found themselves needing to lobby for their interests as well.Finally, we have Political Action Committees, which are officially registered fundraising organizations that represent interest groups in the political process.
915.1TABLE 15.1: What are the Characteristics of Selected Interest Groups?Let’s take a quick look at Table 15.1, which shows us the membership levels and fundraising characteristics of some of the major interest groups. As you can see, the AARP tops the membership list with 40 million members, followed by the AFL-CIO, which we mentioned in the last slide, with 11.5 million members, and MoveOn.org, which has 5 million members. Of those three, only AARP does not also have a Political Action Committee.
1015.1Video: In ContextExamine the emergence of interest groups in American politics. In this video, Boston College political scientist Kay Scholzman traces the roots of interest group involvement in American politics and why they are an important part of the political process today.
1115.115.1 Subscribers to this theory emphasize the role of the elites in interest group formation:Pluralist theoryDisturbance theoryTransactions theoryNone of the aboveWhat have you learned so far about interest group formation?
1215.115.1 Subscribers to this theory emphasize the role of the elites in interest group formation:Pluralist theoryDisturbance theoryTransactions theoryNone of the aboveTransactions theorists note that the elites have more time and money to mobilize to promote their interests. This means that not all voices are equally represented in the system.
13Video: In the Real World 15.1Video: In the Real WorldIs pizza a vegetable? This video illustrates the difference between elitist and populist theories of interest groups by examining real people's reactions to the recent debate over whether school cafeterias should count pizza sauce as a full serving of vegetables.
14The Development of American Interest Groups 15.2The Development of American Interest GroupsNational Groups Emerge ( )The Progressive Era ( )The Rise of the Interest Group StateThe Framers of the Constitution wanted to minimize the influence of any single interest group on the new American government. This explains in part why they created a system with the extensive checks and balances that our Constitution has.Yet, as careful as they were, there was no way they could have foreseen the vast sums of money that would, ultimately, come to define the interest group involvement in American politics and policy today. In this section, we’ll trace the historical development of the modern interest group.
15National Groups Emerge 15.2National Groups EmergeAmerican Anti-Slavery SocietyOne of the first national groupsWomen’s Christian Temperance UnionSought ProhibitionThe GrangeEducated farmers and sought legislationBusiness InterestsStandard OilRailroadSo, when and how did interest groups emerge? All kinds of local interest groups existed in America since the days of the colonies and early states. But it was not until the 1830s, when communication networks improved, that national groups began to form.Often, these groups formed around a single issue. For example, the American Anti-Slavery Society, founded by William Lloyd Garrison, was one of the first national groups. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which sought prohibition, is another example of an early national group. Following the Civil War, the Grange formed to help teach farmers about the latest agricultural developments and seek legislation to help them.Business interests grew active during this time as well. People used to joke that the Standard Oil Company did everything to the Pennsylvania legislature except refine it. And in 1861 the Central Pacific Railroad sent its own lobbyist to Washington D.C. In turn, it received vast land grants and subsidized loans.
1615.2The GrangeTake a look at this poster, which pays tribute to the Grange, the organization dedicated to educating farmers and lobbying for their interests in Congress and in state legislatures. One of the issues it fought for was trust-busting.
17The Progressive Era 15.2 Organized Labor American Federation of LaborClayton Act – allowed unions to strikeBusiness Groups and Trade AssociationsNational Association of ManufacturersChamber of CommerceAs you probably recall from earlier history courses, the Progressive movement rose in response to rapid industrialization and the poor working and living conditions that followed. Progressive Era interest groups called for everything from public libraries to unions to an end to racial discrimination. Out of this was born the organized labor movement.The American Federation of Labor was the first national labor union of skilled workers and it had to push back hard when business interests sought to outlaw unions. Ultimately, the AFL was able to get the Clayton Act passed in This allowed unions to organize and even to strike.In response to the growing strength of unions, the trade association National Association of Manufacturers was formed in It became very active politically in In fact, it was so forceful politically that President Woodrow Wilson called its tactics an “unbearable situation.” Around this same time the Chamber of Commerce was created in 1912.
18The Rise of the Interest Group State 15.2The Rise of the Interest Group StateConservative Response: Religious and Ideological GroupsMoral Majority, Christian Coalition and the National Rifle AssociationBusiness Groups, Corporations, and AssociationsChamber of Commerce, Business RoundtableOrganized LaborAmerican Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial OrganizationsDuring the 1960s and 1970s, the spirit of the Progressive Era was as strong as ever. Public interest group membership and activity soared as groups fought for the rights and welfare of African Americans, women, the elderly, the poor, and consumers.In response to the success of these efforts, conservatives launched their own interest groups. The Rev. Jerry Fallwell founded the Moral Majority in The Moral Majority played in important role in electing Ronald Reagan president in Ten years later televangelist Pat Roberts formed the Christian Coalition, whose influence was crucial to the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994.But religious groups aren’t the only conservative organizations with power. The National Rifle Association has raised and spent a great deal of money to defeat gun control laws. Business and labor groups have also risen in power. We have the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, as well as the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
19How is the face of union membership changing? 15.2How is the face of union membership changing?Historically, most union members were white, male, blue collar workers and female teachers. In more recent years, however, unions have become more female and more diverse. Part of this change is the result of broadening union membership to include service workers, such as those shown here protesting with the Service Employees Industrial Union.
2015.215.2 Which statement concerning the rise of national interest groups is true?Their rise followed improvements in communication networksThey generally were concerned with one issueThey tended to fall into the public interest categoryAll of the aboveLet’s see what you have learned about the rise of national interest groups.
2115.215.2 Which statement concerning the rise of national interest groups is true?Their rise followed improvements in communication networksThey generally were concerned with one issueThey tended to fall into the public interest categoryAll of the aboveAs we’ve discussed, all of these statements apply to the rise of national interest groups beginning in the 1830s.
22What Do Interest Groups Do? 15.3What Do Interest Groups Do?LobbyingElection ActivitiesAs we’ve seen with some of the interest groups we’ve already discussed, many don’t start out political. But they may quickly become political if they decide legislation is the answer to their problem. Individuals may band together in an interest group to increase the volume of their voices in Washington, which in turn may lead to favorable legislation.This doesn’t come for free, however: Changes in law can increase the scope and cost of government, which affects taxpayers. In this section we will review the pros and the cons of interest group activity in our political system.
23Lobbying 15.3 Lobbying Congress Lobbying the Executive Branch Lobbying the CourtsGrassroots LobbyingProtests and Radical ActivismIt’s easy to see from this section what the top priority is for many interest groups: lobbying. Just to be clear, lobbying is defined as the activities of a group or organization that seeks to persuade political leaders to support the group’s position. The term “lobbying” likely has its roots in the legislative lobbies where interest group members had to wait to speak to lawmakers.Almost all interest groups lobby by testifying at hearings and contacting legislators. They may provide information to lawmakers and encourage their members to rally around the cause. Interest groups lobby by testifying, sending letters or s and, of course, giving campaign contributions. Lobbyists tend to work most closely with representatives who share their interests, and their effectiveness depends largely on their reputation for being fair and accurate.Interests groups also lobby the executive branch, which has become more involved in recent years with shaping legislation, and the courts. Interest groups lobby the courts by filing lawsuits or “friend of the court” briefs in cases they are interested in. A lot of groups have been pretty successful with this type of lobbying.Finally, we have grassroots lobbying, in which group members turn up the heat in some way on lawmakers, and radical activism. Radical activism uses highly visible tactics to change policy. Anti-war and animal activist groups are especially good at this, but the most famous example of this type of protest came early in our history with the Boston Tea Party.
2415.3FIGURE 15.1: How Many Lobbyists Are There? How Much Do They Spend?We hear so much about the influence of lobbyists – but just how many are there? Let’s look at Figure 15.1 to find out. As we can see, the actual number of lobbyists has spiked and then dropped from 1998 to Spending rose dramatically from 1998 to 2011 before dropping in 2012.
2515.3 What Role Do Lobbyists Play in Congress? Let’s look at this cartoon, which presents one popular view of how legislation gets enacted on Capitol Hill. You can see the special interest lobbyist handing a “bill” to the lawmaker, who then gives the lobbyist the “law” he wanted. Political science research, however, reveals that interest groups do not directly “buy” members’ votes. They do, however, reward loyal supporters in Congress with campaign contributions and other incentives.
26Election Activities 15.3 Candidate recruitment and endorsements Getting out the voteRating the candidates or office holdersCampaign contributionsAs you’ve already seen in the most recent election cycle, interest groups don’t just try to influence what legislation gets passed. They try to influence who passes the legislation by becoming involved in the electoral process. Some groups recruit, endorse and may even provide financial assistance to political candidates they want to see in office. One example of such a group is EMILY’s List, which was founded to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates.The next step is, of course, getting those candidates elected. Many interest groups have impressive “Get out the vote” programs. They identify voters who are likely to support the group’s position and actually drive them to the polls. Groups that don’t have the resources to drive voters publish guides that rate candidates based on how closely they align to the group’s positions and goals.But money talks in politics, and interest groups can raise and distribute money to candidates in several ways. Their members can give directly to candidates, or the organization can create a Political Action Committee to coordinate giving to candidates. Recently, we have also seen so-called Super PACs, which raise money in support or opposition to a candidate or cause but may not coordinate directly with campaigns.
2715.3FIGURE 15.2: How Much Money Do Interest Groups Spend on Elections?So, just how much money gets spent on electing sympathetic political leaders? Let’s look at Figure 15.2 and find out. First of all, you can see that overall more money is spent on the Republican side than on the Democrat side. It also varies by different interest sectors. For example, more money gets spent by interest groups in the finance sector than by interest groups in the construction sector.
2815.315.3 This type of lobbying activity has become a favorite of anti-war and animal activists:Congressional lobbyingExecutive branch lobbyingLobbying the courtsGrassroots lobbyingProtests and radical activismIn this section, we looked at several tactics used by interest groups. Let’s see what you have learned about them.
2915.315.3 This type of lobbying activity has become a favorite of anti-war and animal activists:Congressional lobbyingExecutive branch lobbyingLobbying the courtsGrassroots lobbyingProtests and radical activismRemember the Boston Tea Party? This was a form of radical activism, which has also become a favorite lobbying activity of ant-war groups and animal activists.Activity: To provoke discussion on the influence of interest groups, bring in, or have students research before class (using the top contributing lobbying organizations in Washington, D.C.• What types of groups appear in this list, and why?• What does this list tell us about interest group politics and democracy?
30What Makes Interest Groups Successful? 15.4What Makes Interest Groups Successful?LeadersFunding and PatronsMembersAs we’ve said, all interest groups want to influence public policy, though they may go about it differently. But what makes them successful in their goals? Interest groups succeed when they win legislation or court cases, or when they get the person they want elected or defeat the person they don’t like. In this section we will look at several elements that seem to contribute towards or detract from an interest group’s success.
31Leaders 15.4 The fate of interest groups may rest with their leaders William Lloyd GarrisonFrances WillardMarian Wright EdelmanPat RobertsonIt’s not hard to understand that the success of a group depends on the talents and skills of its leader. Leaders lend personality and direction to a group, especially as it is starting out. In history, several key groups have had very charismatic leaders, from William Lloyd Garrison’s efforts with the American Anti-Slavery Society, to Frances Willard and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Marian Wright Edelman’s leadership of the Children’s Defense Fund was crucial to its success, as were Pat Robertson’s actions on behalf of the Christian Coalition.
3215.4 Who are interest group leaders? Without Marian Wright Edelman at its helm, who knows how far the Children’s Defense Fund would have gotten? Since 1973, Edelman has been the public face of this organization as it fights child poverty and for better health care.
33Funding and Patrons 15.4 Revenue to cover costs Membership dues Direct-mail solicitationsSpecial eventsPatronsInfluencing public policy is not cheap. To help cover costs, interest groups must rely on a variety of ways to raise money, from membership dues to direct-mail solicitations. As you’ve probably read about in the news, they may also rely on special events to raise money and on the generous donations of wealthy patrons.
34Members 15.4 Levels of membership Variety of benefits Leadership Working membersDues-paying members“free-riders”Variety of benefitsAAA - roadside assistanceAARP - discountsAs you can imagine, not all members of interest groups participate equally. At the top are the leaders, who plan and direct the activities of the organization. Next are the workers of the organization. They attend meetings, pay dues and chair committees to make sure things get done. Finally there is the last level of membership, the rank-and- file members who may pay dues but do little more.So-called “free-riders” may benefit from a group’s activities without joining at all. The bigger the group, the greater the chances of free-riders. To encourage people to formally join an organization, some groups will offer additional, tangible benefits only to members. For example, AAA offers roadside assistance to members, while AARP offers discounts.
3515.4How Do Interest Groups Convince Potential Members to Become Dues-Paying Members?You might be wondering why anyone would pay to belong to an interest group if they can get the benefits of what the group is fighting for without actually joining. That’s a problem that has faced many interest groups. AARP has been more successful than most in getting members to formally join, possibly because the group offers other, tangible, benefits. Here, this photo shows members lobbying for cheaper prescription drugs to be imported from Canada.
3615.4 Material benefits are offered by groups in order to: Combat the free-rider problemEncourage people to joinEncourage activity within the groupAll of the aboveLet’s see what you have learned about interest group membership.
3715.4 Material benefits are offered by groups in order to: Combat the free-rider problemEncourage people to joinEncourage activity within the groupAll of the aboveInterest groups may offer material benefits in order to combat the free-rider problem, encourage people to join and encourage people to become more active in the organization.
38Toward reform: Regulating Interest Groups and Lobbyists 15.5Toward reform: Regulating Interest Groups and LobbyistsRegulating Congressional LobbyistsRegulating Executive Branch LobbyistsRegulating Judicial Branch LobbyistsGiven the force and influence of lobbyists, it’s a little hard to grasp the fact that it took 150 years for us to begin regulating their activities. While the courts remain largely free of lobbying regulations, lobbying in Congress and the executive branch is regulated. In this final section, we will examine some of these regulatory efforts.
39Regulating Congressional Lobbyists 15.5Regulating Congressional LobbyistsFederal Regulation of Lobbying Act (1946)Required registration of lobbyistsLobbying Disclosure Act (1995)Stricter definition of lobbyingTougher registration requirementsReport clients and issuesEstimate amount paid by clientsHonest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007Bans on gifts; longer waiting periodsIt took a while, but in 1946 Congress began regulating the activities of the people who are paid to lobby. In 1946 Congress passed the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, which required some registration of lobbyists.By 1995, however, public opinion polls showed that Americans believed the votes of members of Congress were for sale. In response, Congress passed the Lobbying Disclosure Act in This one was tougher: there was a stricter definition of lobbying and stricter registration requirements. Lobbyists had to report their clients and issues and estimate how much they were getting paid.But that didn’t stop all the abuses of the system. After lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2006, Congress passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of This act banned gifts and public speaking fees and put longer waiting periods in place before a person could move from a job with the federal government to a lobbying position in the private sector.
40Regulating Executive and Judicial Branch Lobbyists 15.5Regulating Executive and Judicial Branch LobbyistsExecutive BranchLobbying Disclosure ActHonest Leadership and Open Government Act1978 Ethics in Government ActJudicial BranchFew formal regulationsAmicus curiae is chief toolIt’s no surprise that formal lobbying of the executive branch is largely covered by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act and the Ethics in Government Act. This last act was passed following the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration, and it barred anyone from an executive branch agency from representing a client in front of their former employer for two years.As for the judicial branch, its lobbying activities have few formal regulations. Parties must ask permission to file amicus curiae briefs, but this is usually granted. Some people have called for restrictions on so-called “legal education” seminars, which judges attend at fancy resort hotels and which are paid for by lobbyists. So far, however, these regulations have not passed.
4115.515.5 Which of these lobbying regulations banned gifts and public speaking fees?Federal Regulation of Lobbying ActLobbying Disclosure ActHonest Leadership and Open Government ActNone of the abovePlease answer one final multiple choice question for the chapter on lobbying reform efforts.
4215.515.5 Which of these lobbying regulations banned gifts and public speaking fees?Federal Regulation of Lobbying ActLobbying Disclosure ActHonest Leadership and Open Government ActNone of the aboveAs we discussed, this Act also made it a little bit harder to move directly from a job – elected or appointed – with the federal government to a lobbying position in the private sector.