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Warm-up: What does this cartoon suggest about lobbying?

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Presentation on theme: "Warm-up: What does this cartoon suggest about lobbying?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Warm-up: What does this cartoon suggest about lobbying?

2 How interest groups work What effects does lobbying have on public policy? How does lobbying work in each branch of government? How do interest groups make themselves successful? In what kinds of election activities do interest groups take part?

3 What Do Interest Groups Do? Lobbying: The activities of a group or organization that seeks to influence legislation and persuade political leaders to support the group’s position –23 ways for lobbyists and organizations to lobby on the state and national level Most often they: testify at legislative hearings, contact government officials directly, help draft legislation Provide information to legislators, file lawsuits/amicus briefs

4 Lobbying Congress Members of Congress targets of lobbyists –Testimony, letters from constituents, contributions, money for votes* Many lobbyists former members of Congress –Officials, Washington “insiders”, etc. –43% of members who left Congress since 1998 Lobbyists work closely with those members who share their interests –Iron triangle—interaction between agencies, interest groups, and Congressional (sub)committees Effectiveness depends on a lobbyists’ reputation for fair play and accurate information



7 Lobbying the Executive Branch As the scope of federal government has expanded, so has lobbying of the executive branch. –Many potential access points (Prez, WH staff, bureaucracy) –Lobbyists seek influence at formation and implementation stages. –An especially strong link exists between interest groups and regulatory agencies –Groups often monitor the implementation of the laws or policies they advocated. Title IX (National Women’s Law Center)

8 Lobbying the Courts Can take two forms: –Direct sponsorship –Filing amicus curiae briefs Brief that informs the court of the group’s policy preferences, generally in guise of legal arguments Interest groups also attempt to influence who is nominated and placed on the bench.

9 Grassroots Lobbying A form of pressure-group activity that attempts to involve individuals who contact their representatives directly in an effort to influence policy Persuading ordinary voters to act as the group’s advocates

10 Protest and Radical Activism Some groups resort to more forceful, legal as well as illegal measures to attract attention to their cause. –Sometimes violent, illegal protest (Boston Tea Party, Shays’ Rebellion) –Civil Rights Movement Marches with permits legal –PETA –Animal Liberation Front

11 Attempts to Reform Congressional Lobbying Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, 1946 Lobbying Disclosure Act, 1995 –Employs a strict definition of lobbyist –Requires lobbyists to: Register with the clerk of the House and the secretary of the Senate Report their clients and issues and the agency or house they lobbied Estimate the amount they are paid by each client –Makes it easier for watchdog groups to track the lobbying activity

12 Election Activities Candidate recruitment and endorsements –EMILY’s List (D), WISH List (R) (p. 586) Getting out the vote –Identifying voters, getting them to polls, issue-oriented ads (; Progress for America) Rating the candidates or office holders –Voting record reviews (i.e, ACLU, NARAL) Political action committees –Raise money to contribute to candidates in national elections (specific campaign donations)

13 What Makes An Interest Group Successful? Leaders –Formation, viability, success of group, attract members (benefits>costs) Patrons and Funding –Patron—person who finances a group or individual activity Members –Collective good—something that cannot be withheld from a non-member of an interest group –Free rider problem—potential members who fail to join a group because they can get the benefit, or collective good, sought by the group without contributing to it Groups must provide other material benefits to convince members to join (AARP—discounts; AAA—roadside help)

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