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Unit 4: Interest Groups. I. What are Interest Groups? A. An organized group that tries to influence public policy. The change in policy is aimed at helping.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit 4: Interest Groups. I. What are Interest Groups? A. An organized group that tries to influence public policy. The change in policy is aimed at helping."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unit 4: Interest Groups

2 I. What are Interest Groups? A. An organized group that tries to influence public policy. The change in policy is aimed at helping the members of the group II. Types and Examples A. Economic Interest Groups 1. Business a. GM, Microsoft 2. Trade and other Associations a. National Realtors Association 3. Labor a. AFL-CIO 4. Professional Associations a. American Bar Association

3 B. Single Issue vs. Multi Issue Interest Groups 1. National Right to Life Committee 2. NAACP C. Public Interest Groups 1. American Heart Association D. Foreign Policy Interest Groups 1. AIPAC E. Public Sector Interest Groups 1. National League of Cities a. earmarks

4 III. How Effective are Interest Groups A. Factors 1. Overlapping memberships/ Crisscrossing memberships 2. Cohesion a. formal leaders b. activists c. Members in name only d. Free riders

5 3. money 4. issues-- mass member single issue groups, N.R.A IV. What do Interest Groups Do? A. Techniques 1. Lobbying-- The activities of a group or organization that seeks to influence legislation and persuade political leaders to support the group’s position

6 a. 23 ways for lobbyists and organizations to lobby on the state and national level 2. Persuasion—propaganda 3. Litigation—amicus curiae briefs 4. Rule making—attempting to sway the regulations that regulatory agencies make and enforce 5. Election Activities a. Candidate Recruitment and Endorsement b. Getting out the Vote c. Rating the Candidate or Office Holders d. Political Action Committees

7 6. Testify at legislative hearings 7. Help draft legislation V. Lobbying Congress A. Members of Congress targets of lobbyists B. Many lobbyists former members 1. Former Senators Bob Dole (R-KS) and Robert Mitchell (D-ME) earn well over a million dollars a year as Washington lobbyists

8 VI. Lobbying the Executive Branch As the scope of federal government has expanded, so has lobbying of the executive branch –Many potential access points –Lobbyist seek influence at formation and implementation stages. –An especially strong link exists between interest groups and regulatory agencies.

9 VII. 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.

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

11 What the Top Lobby Spent, 1998–2012 Copyright © 2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. 11

12 IX. Criticisms of Interest Groups A. The main concern is whether interest groups are putting their group interest over that of the country B. All interest groups claim to speak for the benefit of the entire country while just speaking for themselves C. Is the power of the individual vote being manipulated by the power of special interests?

13 D. Pluralist systems could violate majoritarianism 1. Interest groups could be more important than a majority of individual voters E. The poor don't generally belong to interest groups and don't have money to influence policy makers

14 X.Reforms? A. Public financing of Congressional elections B. Further limitations on contributions C. Subsidizing political advertising (the reason modern campaigns are so expensive)

15 D. Lobbying Disclosure Act, 1995 1. Employs a strict definition of lobbyist 2. Requires lobbyists to: a. Register with the clerk of the House and the secretary of the Senate b. Report their clients and issues and the agency or house they lobbied

16 c. Estimate the amount they are paid by each client 3. Makes it easier for watchdog groups to track the lobbying activity E. Ethics in Government Act 1978 1. Former employees of executive branch agencies may not: a. Represent anyone before an agency for two years after leaving government service on matters that came within the former employees' sphere or responsibility, even if the employees were not personally involved with the matter

17 d. Represent anyone on any matter before their former agency for one year after leaving it, even if the former employees had no connection with the matter while in the government 2. Members of the upper levels of the executive branch (including the President, Vice President, and other high-ranking officials) must file annual public financial disclosure reports

18 XI. Political Action Committee (PAC) A. a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect or defeat government officials or to promote legislation B. Created by Buckley v. Valeo C. The # of PAC’s grew exponentially and so did their campaign contributions D. PAC monies are concentrated on incumbents E. at most PAC’s can give $5,000 per candidate per election. F. at most PAC’s can give $15,000 per political party per year. G. at most individuals can give $5,000 per PAC per year.

19 H. Under federal law, PACs are not limited in their ability to spend money independently of a candidate campaign (known as independent expenditures) I. Candidates claim this special interest money should be done away with--obviously they don't want to because we still have it J. Most PAC money goes to the chairmen of Congressional Committees K. Challengers are sometimes funded by PAC's if the incumbent is an enemy, or the PAC isn't sure who will win

20 Political Action Committees (PACs) *Can be formed by: Where the money goes: Business firms Business PACs give slightly more to Republicans than Democrats Labor unions Labor unions give more than 90 percent to Democrats Trade associations various Ideological organizations Ideological PACs give to Democrats and Republicans in about equal amounts Copyright © 2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. 20 *Each PAC must have at least 50 individual members.

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