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Interest Groups. EXTRA CREDIT!!!!!. Go to website: Play the game Write a 1-2 page summary about redistricting—malapportionment and gerrymandering Replaces lowest 25% grade Due Friday!!!!. Interest Groups. In this chapter we will cover…

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  • Go to website:

  • Play the game

  • Write a 1-2 page summary about redistricting—malapportionment and gerrymandering

  • Replaces lowest 25% grade

  • Due Friday!!!!

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Interest Groups

  • In this chapter we will cover…

  • What Are Interest Groups?

  • The Roots and Development of American

    Interest Groups

  • What Do Interest Groups Do?

  • What Makes an Interest Group Successful?


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Take Five

  • Name some interest groups in


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Interest Group Examples

  • AARP (American Association of Retired People)

  • Sierra Club (Environment)

  • NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

  • NOW (National Organization of Women)

  • ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)

  • PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups)

  • NEA (National Education Association)

  • AMA (American Medical Association)

    Thousands of interest groups in the US

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What Are Interest Groups? (NAACP)

  • 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.

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Interest Groups (NAACP)

  • Interest groups want to PASS POLICY

  • BUT don’t run their own candidates for office

  • Interest groups can “access,” or influence many points and levels of government

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Take Five (NAACP)

  • Why do you think that interest

    Groups don’t want to run their own


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  • 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.

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The Roots and Development of (NAACP)American Interest Groups

  • National Groups Emerge (1830-80)

  • Progressive Era (1890-1920)

    – Organized Labor – the American Federation of Labor (AFL)


    – 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

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What do interest groups do? (NAACP)

  • 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.

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Direct Techniques: (NAACP)


– Private meetings

– Testifying

– Drafting Legislation

– Social Occasions

– Providing Political Info

– Supplying Nomination


Interest Groups Techniques

  • Indirect Techniques:

    Generating Public


    – Groundswell of

    public pressure

    – Use Constituents as


    – Building Alliances

    with other groups

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Honest Lobbyists? (NAACP)

  • 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.

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What makes Interest Groups Successful? (NAACP)

  • In general three factors tend to lead to interest

    group success:

  • 1. Leaders – having a prominent leader aids in the

    reputation of the group and enhances a group's

    ability to attain its goals.

  • 2. Patrons and Funding – funding is critical.

    Without money, it is hard to get your message out.

  • 3. Members – a group must have members to be

    successful. Organizing members allows for

    strength in numbers and pooling of financial


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Pluralist theory (NAACP)

argues that interest

group activity brings

representation to all.

Interest groups

compete and

counterbalance one


Pluralism and its Critics

  • Three criticisms of

    pluralism are

    1. It gives short shift to

    those who are not


    2. It fails to deal with the

    fact that some interests

    have more power than


    3. It seems to leave no room

    for consideration of

    transcendent national


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Hyperpluralist Theory (NAACP)

  • Hyperpluralists argue that when

    interest groups become so powerful

    that they dominate the political

    decision-making structures they

    render any consideration of the

    greater public interest impossible.

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Interest Group Politics (NAACP)

  • Are interest groups good or bad for Americans politics?

  • Pluralism, Elitism, and Hyperpluralism

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Criticisms of Interest Groups (NAACP)

  • 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

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Interest Groups and Pluralism Theory (NAACP)

  • Many interests and groups prevents one from being too powerful

  • Linkage Institution – links people and government, gives voice to people

  • Federalist 10 – factions are bad, but a necessary evil

  • All groups are not equal, but gives voice

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Interest Groups and Elitism Theory (NAACP)

  • Yes, there are lots of groups, but many do not matter AT ALL

  • Power held by business groups – MONEY

  • Most interest groups have no power

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Take Five (NAACP)

  • Can you name an interest group

    that does not matter?

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Interest Groups and Hyperpluralism (NAACP)

  • Interest groups causing political chaos


  • Government trying to please everyone, resulting policies are haphazard and ill-conceived

  • Ex. – support removing business regulations and support environment protection???

    • impossible

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What makes Interest Groups powerful? (NAACP)

  • Size

  • Power of AARP – 25% of the population 50 and over

  • Intensity – drive or effort put forth (single issue groups fall into this category)

  • Money

  • form a PAC (Political Action Committee) – donate money to campaigns and advertising

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Types of Interest Groups (NAACP)

  • Economic – Labor unions, agricultural, Business, Professional

  • Consumer – public interest, environmental

  • Equality and Justice – racial issues, gender issues, minority issues

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How Interest Groups Work (NAACP)

  • Lobby – (aka Buttonholing) influence government policy

    Ex - call/email officials, meet and socialize, go to lunch, testify at committee hearings, ask for political favors

  • Electioneering – keep people in office who are sympathetic to group wants and needs


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How Interest Groups Work (NAACP)

  • Litigation – (aka amicus curiae – “friends of the court”) (1) File briefs that consist of a written argument for their side

    OR… (2) groups sue business or gov for action

  • Appealing to the public – make the group’s own public image look good

  • The “Ratings Game” – interest groups rate politicians based on voting records

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How do Interest groups get money? (NAACP)

  • Donations (YOU!)

  • Foundations

    Ex. - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation

  • Federal grants and contracts

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Results (NAACP)

Campaign contributions from PAC, Soft Money, and Donations – 2000 elections

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The Revolving Door (NAACP)

  • Government officials quit their jobs or don’t get reelected

  • Then take government jobs for a certain lobbying agency

  • Fear that private interests by business have an unfair influence on gov decisions

  • Ex- official does favor in return for later job

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Federal Disclosure Act of 1995 (NAACP)

  • Defining what is a lobbyist

  • Defining lobbyist actitivies

  • Defining lobbyist contacts

  • Registration procedures

  • Penalties

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Federal guidelines for lobbyists (NAACP)

  • Any person who:

  • Receives compensation of $5,000 or more per six-month period, or makes expenditures of $20,000 or more per six-month period, for lobbying.

  • Makes more than one lobbying contact.

  • Spends 20 percent or more of his or her time over a six-month period on lobbying activities for an organization or a particular client.

  • Unless each of these criteria is met, there is no registration requirement for that individual.

  • An organization is required to register under the LDA if it plans to engage in lobbying activities during any six-month period and incurs at least $20,500 in lobbying expenses. [The LDA specifies that every four years from January 1, 1997 the dollar amounts are to be adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index and rounded to the nearest $500. See 2 U.S.C. Sec. 1603 Chapter 26, (a)(3)(B)(ii)]

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According to federal guidelines…a lobbyist is someone that…

  • The time spent on a lobbying contact and efforts in support of such contacts. These include the preparation and planning activities, research and other background work that is intended, at the time it is performed, for use in contacts, and coordination with the lobbying activities of others.

  • There are several categories of activities for influencing public policy that are specifically not defined as lobbying contacts for reporting purposes under LDA. Some of these are:

  • Congressional testimony.

  • Petitions for agency action.

  • Compelled statements.

  • Public comments solicited through the Federal Register.

  • Public statements or media-broadcast statements.

  • Written responses to government information requests (FOIA).

  • Communication directed solely to the intended agency regarding judicial, criminal or civil law proceedings.

  • “Grassroots” lobbying activities, which encourage private citizens to contact officials on a particular issue.

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Federal guidelines for lobbyist “contacts” that…

  • Virtually any communication written or oral, with either “covered legislative branch officials” or “covered executive branch officials” regarding the formulation, modification, or adoption of policy or legislation. Also included are communications relating to the:

  • Administration or execution of a federal program or policy (including contracts, grants, loans or permits).

  • Nomination or confirmation of a person subject to confirmation by the Senate.

  • For reporting purposes, the question of which officials are “covered” is quite simple with respect to Congress and somewhat less clear with regard to the Executive Branch.

  • Covered Legislative Branch Officials

  • Members of Congress.

  • An elected officer of either House.

  • Any employee of, or any other individual functioning in the capacity of (but not volunteers or contractors) a Member of Congress, a committee, a leadership staff, or a working group or caucus.

  • A senior employee of the Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate.

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Federal Registration Procedures that…

  • A lobbyist or lobbying firm must register within 45 days of making a lobbying contact or being employed for such activities, whichever occurs first. [2 U.S.C. Sec. 1603, Chapter 26]

  • In order to register, lobbyists must file with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House and disclose the following information:

  • The name, address, business telephone number, and principal place of business of the registrant, and a general description of its business or activities.

  • The name, address, and principal place of business of the registrant’s client, and a general description of its business or activities (if different from registrant).

  • The general issues on which the organization intends to engage in lobbying activities and, to the extent practicable, the specific issues that are likely to be addressed.

  • Each employee whom the organization expects to act as a lobbyist.

  • The identity of any organization that provides more than $10,000 in support in a semi-annual period and plays a major part in the supervision of the registrant’s lobbying activities.

  • The identity of a foreign entity that influences the registrant’s lobbying activities, directly or indirectly, or is an affiliate of the client and has a direct interest in the outcome of the lobbying activity. [2 U.S.C. Sec. 1603, Chapter 26]

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Filing requirements that…

  • Once an organization or lobbyist registers under the LDA, they are required to file semi-annual reports so long as they remain registered. If the organization or lobbyist ceases lobbying, they must file a registration termination form.

  • Semi-annual reports for the period of January through June must be filed on August 14th of each year. Reports for the period of July through December must be filed on February 14th of each year. These reports must include the following information:

  • For each general issue in which the organization or lobbyist is engaged in lobbying, a list of the specific issues on which the lobbyists are working. This should include a list of bill numbers and references to specific executive branch actions “to the maximum extent practicable."

  • A list of the houses of Congress (Senate and House) and federal agencies contacted by any employee acting as a lobbyist.

  • The names of the employees who acted as lobbyists during the semi-annual period.

  • A disclosure of the interests of any foreign entity listed in the registration statement.

  • A “good faith” estimate of the organization’s or lobbyist’s total expenses relating to lobbying activities during the semi-annual period. The Act provides that expenses above $10,000 should be rounded to the nearest $20,000. [2 U.S.C. Sec. 1610, Chapter 26]

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Penalties that…

  • The Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House are responsible for enforcing the LDA. If either the Secretary or the Clerk is made aware that “any lobbyist or lobbying firm…may be in noncompliance” with the LDA, they must notify the lobbyist or lobbying firm in writing. The lobbyist or lobbying firm then has 60 days to respond and provide appropriate information. Failure to do this triggers notification to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia to initiate an investigation. However, efforts by the House Clerk and the Senate Secretary to ensure compliance are very limited, and referrals for repeated noncompliance to the Department of Justice had been non-existent until very recently when both offices have come under increasing public pressure to fulfill their mandate.

  • A lobbyist or lobbying firm found to be in violation of the LDA may be assessed civil fines of up to $50,000 for knowingly failing to comply with the LDA or for failing to resubmit a complete filing within 60 days of notification.

  • The Department of Justice’s enforcement of the LDA appears to be very weak, only recently finding anyone in violation of the law. Even in these few cases, the Department abides by a policy of confidentiality that is at odds with the purpose of the LDA. The Department will not discuss any LDA enforcement actions, even those that have been completed.

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Take Five that…

  • What does it mean that interest

    Groups serve as “watchdogs”?

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Points to consider… that…

  • Interest Groups:

  • Promote interest in public affairs

    • Provide useful information

    • Serve as watchdogs

    • Represent the interest of Citizens