Date: November 4, 2013Topic: LobbyingAim: How do interest groups achieve their goals?Do Now: Name on top and answer: What are TWO positives of interest groups?
Alexis de Tocqueville In no country in the world has the principle of association been more successfully used, or more unsparingly applied to a multitude of different objects, than in America. MY HAIR IS WAVIER THAN YOURS. Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions, constantly form associations…not only commercial and manufacturing…but…of a thousand other kinds – religious, moral, serious, futile, extensive or restricted, enormous, or diminutive.
Positives and Negatives of Interest Groups • Positives • Stimulate awareness and interest in public affairs. • Interest groups represent their members on the basis of shared attitudes rather than geography. • They provide detailed information to government. • They provide vehicles for participation. • Provide a form checks and balances on the government. • They compete with other groups – pluralism.
Positives and Negatives of Interest Groups • Negatives • Some interest groups have an influence far out of proportion to their size. • Many groups do not in fact represent the views of all the people for whom they claim to speak. • Some groups use illegal means such as bribery and threats of revenge.
THE CLASSROOM LOBBYIST FINE I’ll ASK. I’LL SAY THAT SINCE WE HAD THAT FIRE DRILL WE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO COVER THE MATERIAL. HEY BRO…THIS TEST IS GOING TO BE HARD. WE SHOULD ASK TO HAVE IT POSTPONED… ASK BRADLEY…HE TALKS A GOOD GAME AND THE TEACHER LIKES HIM. YOU ASK… CHUMP.
The Direct and Indirect Approach STEPHEN BASSETT IS THE ONLY REGISTERED UFO LOBBYIST IN THE US. HE URGES YOU TO CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE. • Interest groups approach government both directly and indirectly in their attempts to influence policy. Their direct efforts involve immediate, face to face contacts with policymakers. Their indirect efforts entail more subtle tactics – for example, mobilizing the folks back home to contact their members of Congress with letters, phone calls, faxes, and emails for or against a particular bill.
Defining Lobbying and Lobbyists • Lobbying – the process by which organized interests attempt to affect the decisions and actions of public officials. • Lobbyists – those people who try to persuade public officials to do those things that interest groups want them to do. Grant still haunts the Willard Hotel.
The First Amendment, which guarantees the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances, protects the rights of interest groups to lobby government. • My administration is committed to reducing the undue influence of special interests that for too long has shaped the national agenda and drowned out the voices of ordinary Americans. Special interests exert this disproportionate influence, in part, by relying on lobbyists who have special access that is not available to all citizens. Although lobbyists can sometimes play a constructive role…their service in privileged positions within the executive branch can perpetuate the culture of special interest access that I am committed to changing. • - President Obama June 18, 2010 • Many lobbyists…embody what government reform efforts seem to consider the noble lobbyist; one who does not attempt to influence with political contributions, but relies solely on the strength of their argument…New reforms which treat these lobbyists like any other special interest promise to…marginalize these professionals and their causes…These current reforms are curtailing the ability of these lobbyists to state their cases. This…marginalization has exponential impacts on the voices of many Americans who will now be more unlikely than ever to be heard. • - Darrell K. Smith, Executive Vice President, IMA-NA, February 3, 2010
Keeping Tabs on Lobbyists and Interest Groups WHY? WHY? WHY? • All persons and organizations that seek to influence members of Congress must register with the clerk of the House and secretary of the Senate. • They are required to supply such basic information as name, address, principal place of business, plus a general description of their activities. • Every lobbyist must describe his/her ongoing work in detail and account for its income in quarterly reports. • Time restrictions on former members of Congress to become lobbyists. JACK ABRAMOFF
Lobbying and the Courts • Amicus Briefs – How do interest groups impact the court through them? • Brown v Topeka Board of Education was taken to the Supreme Court by the NAACP, an interest group.