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1Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning.  What is an Interest Group?  Members share common views and objectives  Seek to influence government officials.

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Presentation on theme: "1Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning.  What is an Interest Group?  Members share common views and objectives  Seek to influence government officials."— Presentation transcript:

1 1Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

2  What is an Interest Group?  Members share common views and objectives  Seek to influence government officials and policies to benefit the group 2Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

3  The Reasons for Interest Groups ■Legal and Cultural Reasons ■Decentralized government  Separation of powers  Government structure provides multiple access points for interest-group influence ■The Strength of the Party System and Political Ideologies 3Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

4  Characteristics of Interest Groups ■Organizational patterns vary depending on purpose/mission of the organization  Centralized  Decentralized  Primarily people from professional and managerial occupations  Decisions made by few members 4Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

5  Economic Groups  Promote members’ economic interests  Business Groups  Most often are trade organizations  Lobby for policies favoring Texas business  Labor Groups  Support public policies designed to increase wages, obtain worker health coverage, promote safe working conditions, and protect the interests of workers 5Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

6  Professional/Career Groups  Professional Groups  Organizations of professionals that lobby for policies beneficial to their members  Government Employee Groups  Organizations of government employees that lobby for better working conditions, higher wages, more fringe benefits, better retirement packages  Teachers, public officers and employee groups 6Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

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8  Social Groups  Racial and Ethnic Groups  Seek to influence decisions affecting racial equality and eliminating racial discrimination  NAACP  Latino groups are the most numerous.  League of United Latin American Citizens  Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) 8Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

9  Women’s Groups  Engage in lobbying and educational activities to promote greater political participation by women  Texas Women’s Political Caucus  League of Women Voters of Texas  Religious-based Groups  Lobby for policies promoting religious interests  Christian Coalition, The Texas Industrial Areas Foundation 9Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

10  Public Interest Groups  Promote general interests of society rather than the narrower private or corporate interests  Pursue diverse goals 10Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

11 11Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

12  Texas Power Groups  Effective interest groups strongly linked with legislators and bureaucrats for the purpose of influencing decision making  Business and professional trade associations and labor unions  Maintain links with legislators and bureaucrats, have been around a long time, have headquarters in Austin 12Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

13  Lobbying  Communicating with and attempting to influence government officials on behalf of special interests  Texas ranked second in nation in money spent on lobbying state government  9 to 1 – ratio of lobbyists to legislators 13Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

14  Lobbying  Personal Communication  Communication between lobbyist and legislators  Goal is to inform legislators of the lobbying group’s position on an issue  Emphasis on information-based communications  Relationships are formed over time. 14Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

15  Lobbying  Favors and Gifts  Arrange social gatherings, gift giving, and travel (with limitations) in order to influence lawmakers  Grassroots Activities  Mobilizing public support of an issue with use of political campaign techniques such as commercials, the Internet, social media, etc. 15Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

16  Electioneering  Active campaigning on behalf of candidate or an issue  Publicizing the political record of incumbent candidates  Mailing lists, Internet activities, commercials, etc.  Allow candidates to speak at interest-group events  Public endorsements  “Getting out the vote” 16Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

17  Campaign Financing by Political Action Committees  Organizational device used by interest groups and other groups to raise money for campaign contributions  No Texas limitation on PAC contributions or fundraising (excluding judicial campaigns) 17Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

18 18Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

19 19Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

20  Bribery and Unethical Practices  Most common form is an elected official agreeing to vote a particular way in exchange for campaign contributions  Tom DeLay and TRMPAC 20Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

21  Regulation of Interest Group Politics  Texas Ethics Commission  Created to enforce legal standards for lobbyists and public officials  Registers lobbyists and election candidates  Collects sources of campaign contributions on a required basis  Investigates and conducts hearings on ethic complaints against state officials, state employees, and candidates 21Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

22  Regulation of Interest Group Politics  Corporations and interest groups cannot give directly to a campaigns, must create PACs  Soft money directed to state Republican and Democratic party coffers as “administrative expenses”  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2009) 22Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

23  Interest Group Power and Public Policy  Political influence of interests groups determined by:  Sizable membership, good financial resources, good leadership, high degree of unity, well represented in the government structure, the socioeconomic conditions in the state  Pinpointing Political Power 23Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

24 1. Explain what interest groups are, why they form, and that their essential characteristics are. 2. Describe the types of interest groups and analyze the qualities of a powerful interest group. 24Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

25 3. Evaluate the kinds of activities that interest groups use to influence Texas government. 4. Analyze how interest groups are regulated and evaluate the effectiveness of these laws. 25Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

26 1. True or False: All interest groups have one objective in common: to promote their self-interest. 2. Which are generally more powerful in Texas, business interest groups or labor groups? 3. True or False: LULAC is considered to be the oldest interest group dedicated to the interests and rights of Latinos in the United States. 26Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

27 1. Name two techniques lobbyists use to influence legislators. 2. Does Texas place limits on PAC contributions, as the federal government does? 3. True or False: At present, Texas forbids corporations to contribute campaign funds directly to state candidates. 27Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

28 1. True or False: Texas's campaign finance laws often involve public disclosure by public officials and lobbyists. 2. True or False: The Texas Ethics Commission is the primary state agency regulating political contributions and expenditures by lobbyists and public officials. 3. True or False: A campaign contribution accepted by a public official with an agreement to act in the contributor’s interest is against the law. 28Copyright © 2014 Cengage Learning

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