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CHAPTER SEVEN—INTEREST GROUPS & BUSINESS CORPORATIONS earmark a special provision in an appropriations bill directed at specific favored companies, organizations, and communities-mostly in Defense Department, but lots made in Congress 1. INTEREST GROUPS IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY: CONTRASTING VIEWS a. interest groups private organization or voluntary association that seeks to influence public policy as a way to protect or advance some interest 1. have to influence behavior of public officials b. The Evils of Factions i. regarded as narrowly self-interested, out for themselves, no regard for public good ii. factions Madison’s term (described in the Federalist, No. 10) for groups or parties that try to advance their own interests at the expense of the public good c. Interest Group Democracy: the Pluralist Argument i. pluralist political scientist who views American politics as best understood in the terms of interaction, conflict, and bargaining of the groups. interests groups help, not hurt democracy and public interest 1
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2. THE UNIVERSE OF INTEREST GROUPS a. private interests an interests group that seeks to protect or advance the material interest of its members i. Business—all businesses (large, medium, and small) covered by a group/or big enough to lobby for selves. ii. the Professions lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, etc. have associations like AMA (American medical association) or ADA (dental) iii. Labor unions. secure maximum wages & benefits. power has declined over the years, mainly b/ c of decline in membership b. public interests groups that try to get gov’t to act in ways that will serve interests that are broader & more encompassing than direct economic or occupational interests of own members i. advocacy group an interest group organized to support a cause or ideology (NOW, NAACP…) 1. environmental groups 2. Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) 3. run by lobbying and public education professionals, not active members really ii. state/local level groups trying influence policies in Washington iii. nonprofit organizations and associations also try to influence policies c. lobbying effort by an interest or advocacy group to influence the behavior of a public official; an action by a group or association to influence the behavior of a public official 3. WHY THERE ARE SO MANY INTEREST GROUPS a. about 22,000 today b. lobbyists a person who attempts to influence the behavior of public officials on behalf of an interest group. about 35,000 paid lobbyists today c. the Constitution i. encourages formation of interest groups. 1 st amendment—free speech & right to assemble & to petition the gov’t. officials easy to access & decisions made by many, so more places for interest groups to access d.
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