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Interest Groups and the Bureaucracy

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1 Interest Groups and the Bureaucracy
IB TOK 1/Gov Ms. Halle Bauer

2 What are interest groups?
Interest Group: An organization of people with a common goal or interest that lobbies to influence policy decisions Institutional Interests: Organizations that represent other organizations and institutions General Motors, Chamber of Commerce Membership Interests: Organizations of individual members with common political goals NAACP, NRA When entire public benefits (not just members): public- interest lobby For instance, Common Cause lobbied to give the vote to 18-year- olds




6 Why interest groups? There is a diversity of interests and opinions in America American government is set up to give groups the opportunity to influence policy Interest groups are protected as a form of political speech Our laws permit private organizations and nonprofit organizations to have tax-exempt status OR lobby for their interests National Organization for Women Our political parties leave something to be desired…

7 What do interest groups do?
Provide Credible Information How? Supply updated information on policy issues to lawmakers Give political cues to officials by describing how policy changes will affect the public and how the issue fits in with the political party platform and agenda Make ratings to influence public opinion of lawmakers Public opinion polls Encouraging constituents to write to their Congressmen Writing editorials supporting the interest group’s position Attempting to sway public opinion with grassroots lobbying on ballot initiatives So what is “credible” information?

8 What do interest groups do?
Persuade Legislators How? Try to influence policy on particular issues by encouraging lawmakers to vote one way or the other on the issue at hand What kind of knowledge is most persuasive? PACs: Political Action Committees aligned with interest groups can spend money to influence legislatures Super PACs have fewer restrictions on donations, given that the PAC is an “independent-only” organization Protests: Sit-ins, marches, picketing

9 How are interest groups funded?
Grants Solicitation Foundation grants Federal grants and contracts Federal grants support projects that the group sponsors, not the lobbying itself Mailings to supporters Appeal to emotions

10 Who do interest groups represent?
Over 50% interest groups represent corporate interests 1/3 of interest groups are professional organizations 4% of interest groups are public-interest groups 2% of interest groups represent civil or minority rights

11 Some examples… The U.S. Chamber of Commerce General Electric
Insttitional Interests Member Interests The U.S. Chamber of Commerce General Electric University of California Koch Industries Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America American Medical Association Susan B. Anthony List American Association of Retired People National Rifle Association The College Board National Education Association

12 A large, complex organization of appointed officials
The Bureaucracy A large, complex organization of appointed officials

13 What is the bureaucracy?
A large, complex organization of appointed officials who oversee and enforce the laws Congress and the President both have authority over the American bureaucracy Federal agencies work with state and local agencies to ensure laws are carried out properly Government by proxy: Lawmakers use the bureaucracy to staff and administer federal programs and do the work of the laws


15 What does today’s bureaucracy look like?
History Recruitment The Great Depression paved the way for greater government involvement in economic and social problems WWII required more bureaucracy to oversee the war effort 9/11 created a new department (Homeland Security) Merit: Competitive Service Exam Civil servants who align with President’s views Cabinet, judges, ambassadors Confidential positions (aides) Noncareer executive assignments (policy)

16 What does today’s bureaucracy look like?
Demographics (2004) Constraints 56% Male 44% Female 69% White 31% Racial Minorities Agencies have discretionary authority, but… Laws restrict ability to hire, fire, build, sell Congress typically assigns several agencies to one job As a result… Government is slow to act Agencies are inconsistent “Red tape”

17 Then: The Iron Triangle
Now: An Issue Network

18 How does Congress oversee the bureaucracy?
Congress approves every agency All money spent by agencies is first approved by Congress (power of the purse) Authorization legislation sets spending limits on programs Approved funds must be appropriated for a specific purpose House Appropriations Committee approves each agency’s budget Except when trust funds are used for public benefits (SS)

19 How does Congress oversee the bureaucracy?
Legislative veto: Congress would block agency actions by voting them down before they took effect These resolutions did not require the President’s signature Ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL in 1983 Congressional investigations: Congress can investigate an agency’s decisions and outcomes

20 Is our bureaucracy a “fourth branch” of government?
Is red tape always negative? What knowledge issues are important in the federal bureaucracy?

21 Model Congress Bill: Parts 2 and 3
A Guide

22 MC Bill Part 2: Bureaucracy
Part 2 Instructions Part 2 Example: Stem Cell Research Cabinet department Head of department Responsibilities of department that correspond with the bill Judicial powers to enforce the bill National Institutes of Health (Part of Department of Health and Human Services) Frances Collins, Director Conduct and fund medical research with federal dollars Allocate funds (approved by Congress) for new stem cell research projects, oversee research reports; No fines involved

23 MC Part 3: Interest Groups
Part 3 Instructions Part 3 Example: Stem Cell Research Interest group in support of bill History, purpose, advantages to bill Interest group in opposition to bill History, purpose, disadvantages to bill American Association for the Advancement of Science Citizens Against Government Waste

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