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Unformatted text preview: Interest Groups: Organizing for Influence Chapter 9 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 1 Related Links Debate: Interest groups have hijacked Debate: Federal government should d Debate: Voting systems are fair Debate: National Security is more imp Participate: Make Voting Fair Participate: Accessible to All 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 2 Related Links Debate: Interest Groups have hijacked the initi Simulation: Citizen Action: No Bioterrorism Lab Participate: Wetlands vs. Tuition Debate: Anyone Can Be Elected President Make It Local: Campaign Finance in the US How Government Works: Checks and Balance 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 3 What is an Interest Group? An organized group of individuals Who pursue policy goals based on members' shared interests 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 4 Political Parties vs. Interest Groups Political Parties Address a broad range of issues Contest elections Change policy stands as public interest changes Interest Groups Focus on specific issues May be involved in elections, but primary purpose is to influence policy 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 5 The Interest Group System Organizations develop when people have incentive to associate Groups have different capacities Highly organized interests have more chance of having message heard
6 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates Economic Groups Organized for economic reasons but engage in political activity to seek favorable policies from the government Usually the most effectively organized Exist primarily to benefit some business category 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 7 An Organizational Edge More access to money than other groups In addition to lobbying services, usually offer private or individual goods to members Can be material incentives for group members, like jobs 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 8 Types of Economic Groups Business groups business and trade organizations that attempt to influence government policy to their benefit Make up or more of all interest groups U.S. Chamber of Commerce American Petroleum Institute 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 9 Types of Business Groups Labor groups represent working class interests Less powerful than in the past only 1 in 8 of all workers join AFL/CIO (American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations) National Education Association (NEA) American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 10 Types of Business Groups Agricultural groups advocate for farm interests Do not necessarily agree American Farm Bureau Federation National Farmers Union Associated Milk Producers 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 11 Types of Business Groups Professional groups advocate for professional associations American Bar Association (ABA) American Medical Association (AMA) 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 12 "Gift for the Grangers," 1873 lithograph of benefits of membership in the National Grange (Library of Congress) 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 13 Citizens' Groups Citizens' groups (non-economic) -individuals come together to promote a cause Purposive incentives a chance to promote a cause you believe in Offer collective (public) goods to members, but also available to non-members Much harder for this type of group to get money 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 14 Free Riders People who enjoy a benefit without joining the interest group promoting or providing it Rational consumer behavior but does not help groups So, groups offer benefits not available to others Major benefit to citizens' groups is the Internet 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 15 Types of Citizens' Groups Public Interest groups advocate the interests of society at large within the context of their issues Common Cause League of Women Voters 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 16 Types of Citizens' Groups Single-issue groups are narrowly focused Numbers have risen greatly because of Internet National Rifle Association (NRA) The Sierra Club 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 17 Types of Citizens' Groups Ideological groups have a broader agenda deriving from a philosophical or moral position Usually address a wide range of issues National Association for the Advancement of Colored Pers (NAACP) National Organization for Women (NOW) Christian Coalition 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 18 A Special Category of Interest Group: Governments Foreign countries want to promote the goals of their government, businesses, and people State and local governments also have lobbyists Governments may even have their own interest groups, such as the National League of Cities 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 19 Inside Lobbying: Seeking Influence Through Official Contacts Lobbying is an effort by a person or group to influence public policy through contacts with public officials Lobbyists in Washington, DC (Tom McCarthy/Photo Edit) 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 20 Acquiring Access to Officials Inside lobbying -- techniques designed to give access to lawmakers Access is first step to influence "Old time" lobby techniques included bribes and kickbacks Today's most powerful elements are money, indications of group strength, and information 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 21 Lobbying Congress With support in Congress, groups can achieve goals Lawmakers use trusted lobbyists to identify bills that deserve attention/support Keys to a group's success: Reputation for fair play Reliance on Congressional allies Pushing steadily for legislative goals 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 22 Lobbying Executive Agencies Agencies both suggest policy and implement it Groups give agencies information and support when programs reviewed In return, groups support agency budgets and programs See most profound effect in regulatory agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "agency capture" 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 23 Lobbying the Courts While they cannot directly lobby federal judges for policy changes, groups can Influence selection of judges File lawsuits 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 24 Webs of Influence: Groups in the Policy Process Iron Triangle -- small, informal group of legislators, executives, and lobbyists who seek to promote policies beneficial to a certain policy area Mutually beneficial relationships Long-term gatherings of like-minded interests 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 25 The Iron Triangle 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 26 Issue Networks Informal and open networks of public officials and lobbyists who Have common interest/specialized knowledge in a policy area Participants can come and go Includes opposing interests Disbands after issue resolved 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 27 Outside Lobbying: Seeking Influence Through Public Pressure Brings public pressure to bear on policymakers Grassroots lobbying tries to convince lawmakers that group's positions have strong constituent support Example: AARP has 30 million members who were asked to contact lawmakers about prescription drug program 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 28 Electoral Action and PAC Money Electoral Action using members to elect supporters and defeat opponents of issues Educate members on voting records and positions Principal method is campaign contributions 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 29 Political Action Committees Special interest groups cannot contribute directly to campaigns, but can set up PACs Vehicle to gather voluntary campaign contributions from a group's members PACs limited to $10,000 per candidate, split between primary and general election No limit on number of candidates supported 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 30 Percentage of PACs by Category Citizen, 29% Corporate, 41% Labor, 7% Agriculture, 1% Trade, 22% Most PACs represent business. Corporate and trade association PACs make up more than 3/5 of the total number. Source: Federal Election Commission, 2006. 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 31 More on PACs Today, more than 4,000 PACs contribute 1/3 of total funding for Congressional campaigns PACs contribute 8 times more to incumbents than challengers Some do this regardless of affiliation; others back only supportive candidates 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 32 The Contribution of Groups to Self-Government: Pluralism Group activity essential to self government A way for elected officials to find what people want from their government If different groups win various battles, it all evens out (collective interest) Many times, interest groups take up issues neglected by political parties 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 33 Flaws in Pluralism: Interest-Group Liberalism and Economic Bias Gives groups too much influence basis of rule is minority interest, not majority Interest group liberalism favors those with a stake in the issue Inefficient use of society's resources Not representative system biased to economic groups and interests of upper middle class 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 34 A Madisonian Dilemma Our system of checks and balances prevents the tyranny of the majority but ends up giving minority interests disproportionate power And benefits, once granted, almost impossible to eliminate 2007 Susan Roomberg, SKR Associates 35 ...
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- Spring '08