Presentation on theme: "Why so many Interest Groups? Diversity – “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man.” Numerous points of access to government. Weakening."— Presentation transcript:
Why so many Interest Groups? Diversity – “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man.” Numerous points of access to government. Weakening political parties. Changes in economic activities create new interests and define old ones. Government policies create interests.
Economic and Occupational Groups National Association of Manufacturers – 14,000 Airline Pilots Association – 40,000 AFL-CIO – 13.2 million American Farm Bureau – 2.5 million U.S. Chamber of Commerce – 200,000 National Small Business Association – 600,000
Energy and Environmental American Petroleum Institute – 52,000 Sierra Club – 550,000
Religious, racial, gender and ethnic National Organization for Women – 266,000 NAACP – 500,000 National Urban League – 50,000
Political, professional and ideological Common Cause – 225,000 American Medical Association – 270,000 Veterans of Foreign Wars – 2.1 million National Rifle Association – 2.8 million
Tactics used by Interest Groups Provide Information Provide Money Cause Trouble Litigation Lobbying
Providing Information Most important activity of interest groups. Credible, detailed information is essential for members of Congress to do their jobs. Testifying at Congressional hearings. Provide political cues and ratings. Suggesting legislation; sometimes even writing the legislation. Providing feedback from constituents.
Providing Money Creating PAC’s and donating money to campaigns.
Causing Trouble Organizing grassroots movements in home states or districts to force action on a topic. Staging protests/rallies in home district. Publishing editorials in local newspapers.
Litigation Filing lawsuits against government agencies that fail to follow through on policy. Challenging unfair laws/practices through civil suits. (Brown v. Bd. of Education) Challenging laws that go against their position (NRA challenges to waiting period outlined in Brady Bill) amicus curiae briefs presented in Supreme Court.
Lobbying Virtually all major interest groups hire lobbyists. Lobbyists make individual contributions to campaigns, help fundraise, take people to dinner, trips (junkets), ballgames etc. Serve as communication link between interest group and Congress.
Who makes a good lobbyist? “Revolving Door” – former members of Congress and officials in government agencies often work for lobbying firms on K Street in Washington. Well informed on topic. Honest. Knowledge of how the legislative process works.
Interest Group/Lobbyist influence on public policy. Often draft legislation that is sponsored by Congress members. Provide expert testimony to Congressional committees debating bills. Secure support/opposition to legislation among Congress members. Technical issues in bills are often submitted by interest groups via lobbyists. Guarantees that interest group (corporation) will benefit from legislation.