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Interest Groups in Public Policy The Influence Game.

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Presentation on theme: "Interest Groups in Public Policy The Influence Game."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interest Groups in Public Policy The Influence Game

2 Pluralism Political Arena is a marketplace of competing ideas Interests within the public organize themselves into groups Politics = competition among organized interests –Not the public at large

3 Pluralism (Lasissez-faire) Interests within the public organize themselves into groups –Interest groups are temporary Only exist to service a need –Membership is open and fluid Interest groups compete for resources, claims on government –Competition is open, fair, and dynamic Government acts as an honest mediator

4 Pluralism (Lasissez-faire) Role of Government (1) –Interest Group Intermediary Government as referee Public Interest –reconciliation of competing claims Good Public Policy –Most acceptable/least objectionable policies to majority of interests Government legitimizing of claims by certain interest groups shapes public understanding –Government defines the public interest by action

5 Pluralism (Lasissez-faire) Role of Government (2) –Net Benefit Maximizer Government uses procedural expertise to maximize net benefits among all claimants Public interest –Most efficient use of public resources Good Public Policy –Most efficient policies Government valuation and action shapes public understanding of tradeoffs, relative worth, etc.

6 Pluralism (Corporate) Interests within the public organize themselves into groups –Interest groups are permanent –Membership is specialized and stable Certain interest groups acquire controlling power in specific policy areas –defects in political marketplace Collusion among interest groups to establish turf Parts of government (bureaucracy) are captured by special interests Financial, human, and technical resources influence

7 Pluralism (Corporate) Technical expertise of interest groups creates natural alliance with government agencies –BLM Cattle Grazing Association –FAA airline industry

8 Pluralism (Corporate) Role of Government –Agent of Special Interests –Public Interest Defined by special interests within policy area –Good Public Policy Whatever serves special interests –What is good for business is good for America

9 Corporate Interest Groups Industry & Trade Groups –National Mining Association –American Farm Bureau –National Homebuilders Association –Blue Ribbon Coalition Hierarchical structure with small powerful leadership group Little Public Accountability –closed decision making –legal protections/limited liability –corporate secrecy Goal: Advance Industry interests –Narrow industry focus Span Jurisdictions: State, National, International Corporate Actors

10 Public Interest Groups Public Membership Open Decision-making Broad missions –USPIRG –Consumers Union –American Civil Liberties Union Specialized PIGs –National Wildlife Federation –Urban Coalition

11 Modes of Influence Lobbying Campaign Contributions Information (Reports, studies, etc.) Personnel Public Relations

12 What Lobbyists Do… Meetings with lawmakers, legislative staff, agency officials and staff –Develop a relationship with staff Providing analysis and information to committees, legislative offices, and executive agencies Testifying in committee Providing research and information to bureaucracy Negotiating with policy makers and other lobby groups

13 Outside Lobbying Activity… Media activity including news conferences, editorial board visits, and assisting reporters with stories Local lobbying visits by constituents to their legislators Building broad and diverse coalitions Letter writing campaigns to legislators Grassroots activity such as rallies, etc.

14 Lobbying Expenditures Vs. Campaign Contributions

15 Political Action Committees (PAC) Organized interest group for the purpose of funding political campaigns –Single-issue groups –Opposite of political parties Finance candidates and parties –Money comes from individual members, not PAC treasury Sponsor & Create Info-campaigns –Negative campaigns

16 PAC Growth… Numbers

17 PAC Growth… $$$ in Contributions

18 % of PAC Contributions Going to Incumbents – 1998

19 PAC Contributions & Party Preference by Industry – $ millions

20 Top PACs Who gives to whom? Controls of PAC financial influence *For ease of identification, the names used in this section are those of the organization connected with the PAC, rather than the official PAC name. For example, the "Coca-Cola Company Nonpartisan Committee for Good Government" is simply listed as "Coca-Cola Co."

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