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Interest Groups in SC
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  1. Interest Groups in SC Bob Botsch

  2. The Founding Fathers and “Factions” (Federalist Number 10) • Factions = interest groups + parties • Factions a natural outgrowth of freedom and human nature • Undermine the public interest • Endanger stability • Solution is republican principle + democratic pluralism in large nation • Problem in SC: lack of sufficient diversity for pluralism—but growing

  3. Range of Interest Groups in SC and why active • Business groups #1 in size and power • Agriculture in long term decline (Farm Bureau) • Professional/Occupation groups growing (SCEA; Bar) • Unions and workers groups, natural counterweight to business are extremely weak (Teamsters) (SC State Employees) • Ideological/single/public interest issue groups growing (SC Policy Council) • Intergovernmental groups (Municipal Association) • “Free rider” problem particularly a problem for public interest groups like the Coastal Conservation League

  4. Targets/Techniques of Interest Group Activity • Legislature: information, campaign support, “smoozing” or “wining and dining” • Bureaucracy: information, political support, litigation • Grassroots (us!): public relations to alter public opinion—the goal: “what is good for ___ is good for SC!”

  5. Growth in Registered Lobbyists

  6. Lobbying, 2011: #’s & $ Figures compiled by Phil Noble • SC has 542 registered lobbyists, and 545 lobbyist principals (the people who pay the lobbyist) • there are 822 different lobbying contracts, often with one principal hiring multiple lobbyists • 12 state agencies have lobbyists, mostly colleges and universities • 36 separate contracts is the largest number of contracts for one lobbyist • $11,118 is the average size of a lobbyist contract • $142,000 is the biggest single lobbying contract from a single principal • 22 lobbyists make over $100,000 a year in direct lobbying contracts alone • $525,802 is the largest amount paid in various contracts to a single lobbyist • $11,385,031 is the total paid to lobbyists in 2011 for lobbying contracts • $12,113,965 is the total of lobbyist payments, including contracts and expenses • $71,258 per legislator is the total lobbying cost per legislator, for 124 Representatives and 46 Senators (does not include campaign $)

  7. The 2000 Lottery Battle and Interest Group Power • Lesson: large groups do not always win • Especially when the smaller groups have more $ • And more unity • Social conservative groups not as dominant as they once were as culture of state changes, but regional differences remain

  8. Region and the 2000 Lottery Vote: Up vs Low Country

  9. Factors that Affect Interest Group Power • State policy domain: changes from year to year, e.g. payday lending in 2009; budget cuts & state retirement in 2012 • Inter-governmental spending and policy making: efforts shift depending on where money is and who makes policy, e.g. today? Rejection of federal $ for education • Political Attitudes: “traditionalist” culture less likely to get organized and protest • Level of integration/fragmentation: higher means more opportunity (access points) for interest groups and their lobbyists • Professionalism: interest groups match level in govt • Socioeconomic development: increases diversity and possibility of pluralism

  10. How to Determine the Power of Interest Groups and Who is Powerful • Reputational approach—business—tables • Decisions approach—varies with decision • Non-decisions approach—business • Groups resources approach—business

  11. How well democratic pluralism applies to South Carolina • Growing diversity within business sector—no longer “King Cotton” • Growing educated middle class, especially with in-migrant retirees (“non-southerners” about 12% of population in 2011) • Still primarily conservative Protestant • Unions still weak • Liberal groups still weak (e.g. civil rights, environment)

  12. Conclusions • Interest groups still dominant force in SC • More important than political parties • Conditions for pluralism increasing