Interest groups and lobbying
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Interest Groups and Lobbying. What is an Interest Group?. Organized group of individuals that share common goals or objectives Work to influence policymakers in all three branches of government, and at all levels Pluralism. Why People Join Interest Groups?. Free Riders

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Interest Groups and Lobbying

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Interest groups and lobbying

Interest GroupsandLobbying


What is an interest group

What is an Interest Group?

  • Organized group of individuals that share common goals or objectives

  • Work to influence policymakers in all three branches of government, and at all levels

  • Pluralism


Why people join interest groups

Why People Join Interest Groups?

  • Free Riders

    • Someone who can obtain the benefits of membership without participation or even joining

  • Incentives

    • Solidary incentives

    • Material incentives

    • Purposive incentives


Types of interest groups

Types of Interest Groups

  • Economic Interest Groups

  • Environmental Interest Groups

  • Public Interest Groups

  • Special Interest Groups


Public special interest groups

Public Interest Groups – groups that advocate the interests of the collective, overall community

Nader organizations -- organizations organized under the leadership of consumer activist Ralph Nader

Special Interest Groups – narrowly focused interest groups.

Examples include abortion interest groups and groups that advocate for individuals who share a racial, ethnic or age association

Public & Special Interest Groups


Interest group strategies direct techniques

Interest Group Strategies: Direct Techniques

Lobbying – meeting officials and attempting to convince of your position on an issue; Lobbying also entails

testifying before congressional committees

testifying before executive rulemaking agencies

assisting in the drafting of legislation

entertaining legislators

providing information to legislators

assisting in nominating individuals to government posts

Ratings – scoring legislators based on their votes in congress, then making interested constituents aware of those scores

Campaign Assistance – providing workers for political campaigns

Political Action Committees –a committee that raises money and gives donation on behalf of organizations to political candidates or political parties.


Interest group strategies indirect techniques

Interest Group Strategies: Indirect Techniques

  • Generating Public Pressure – trying to influence the government by using public opinion on an issue

  • Using Constituents as Lobbyists

    • shotgun approach means having large numbers of constituents act in concert by writing, emailing, phoning or sending postcards to a legislator

    • rifle approach involves having an influential constituent contact a legislator on a particular issue

  • Building Alliances – forming alliances with other diverse groups who share a policy goal


The iron triangle

The Iron Triangle

Congressional Committees

Interest Groups

Executive agencies


Attempts at regulating lobbyists

Attempts at Regulating Lobbyists

  • Some regulations on lobbying passed in 1995-96 include

    • defining “lobbyist”

    • requiring lobbyists to register

    • requiring semiannual reports

  • Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (BUSH 43)

    • Quaterly reporting

    • $10K spending cap

    • Earmarks made public

  • Obama

    • Claimed would not employ lobbyists in administration

    • Limited access to administration officials

    • By 2010, many former lobbyists had administration posts


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