INTEREST GROUPS. What Are Interest Groups?
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1. SSCG11 The student will describe the influence of lobbyists (business, labor, professional organizations) and special interest groups on the legislative process.
a. Explain the function of lobbyists.
b. Describe the laws and rules that govern lobbyists.
c. Explain the function of special interest groups.
2. INTEREST GROUPS What Are Interest Groups?
• The Roots and Development of American
• What Do Interest Groups Do?
• What Makes an Interest Group
3. What Are Interest Groups? Interest Group (special interests) is an
organization of people with similar
policy goals that tries to influence the
political process to try to achieve those
Interest groups try to influence every
branch and every level of government.
4. The Roots and Development of American Interest Groups Interest groups have been part of the American
political landscape since the country’s founding.
James Madison in Federalist #10 argued for a
proliferation of groups so that no one group
could get hegemony over the other groups.
The open nature of the American government
invites organized political participation.
5. The Roots and Development of American Interest Groups National Groups Emerge (1830-80)
Progressive Era (1890-1920)
– Organized Labor – the American Federation of Labor (AFL)(1886)
– Business and Trade Associations – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) (1895)
The Rise of the Interest Group State (1960s and 1970s)
– Religious and Ideological Groups
– Business Groups, Trade and Professional Associations
– Organized Labor
6. What Do Interest Groups Do? The most common and effective interest
group technique is lobbying or seeking to
influence and persuade others to support
your group's position.
• Lobbyists are hired by your college or
university, businesses, foreign countries,
trade associations, and anyone else wanting
their voice heard on policy matters.
• A Lobbyists is someone whose task it is to
influence legislation or policymaking.
7. Interest Groups Techniques Direct Techniques:
– Private meetings
– Drafting Legislation
– Social Occasions
– Providing Political Info
– Supplying Nomination
suggestions Indirect Techniques:
• Generating Public
– Groundswell of
– Use Constituents as
– Building Alliances
with other groups
8. Honest Lobbyists A lobbyist must be honest and truthful if he or
she wants to remain effective.
• Access to lawmakers is critical and if a lobbyist
gets a reputation of being untruthful or
disingenuous legislators doors will close.
• Of course, lobbyists put their group's position in
a favorable light but good lobbyists will also
make lawmakers aware of the downsides of a
bill and the arguments on the other side as well
9. Criticism Interest Groups Interest Groups have been criticized for
– Ignoring the wider interest of society
– Producing confusion and deadlock in
– Generating so much emotion that they
make reasoned discussion difficult
– Having too much influence
10. Important Points to Think About Interest Groups
• Promote interest in public affairs
• Provide useful information
• Serve as watchdogs
• Represent the interest of Citizens
12. Video "Capitol Crimes"
13. Ethics Rules Lobbyist-paid travel is forbidden.
Sponsored trips must be connected to their official duties.
All staffer's trips must be cleared in advance.
No gift of $50 or more may be accepted