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chapter 18 - Chapter 18 Politics and the Government...

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Chapter 18: Politics and the Government Government regulations: The actions of governmental bodies at the local, state, and federal level have a major impact on how a business operates. Government relations specialists, often called public affairs specialists, have a number of functions: They gather information, disseminate management’s views, cooperate with government on projects of mutual benefit, and motivate employees to participate in the political process. Lobbying: Lobbyist: A person who tries to influence the voting on legislation or the decisions of government administrators. In other words, a lobbyist directs his or her energies to the defeat, passage, or amendment of proposed legislation and regulatory agency policies. Lobbying is closely aligned with governmental relations or public affairs, and the distinction between the two often blurs. Most campaigns to influence impending legislation have multiple levels. One level is informing and convincing the public about the correctness of the organizations viewpoint, which the public affairs specialist does. Lobbyists can be found at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Lobbyists usually outnumber legislators in any state capitol. Washington lobbyists list about 30,000 individuals and organizations. The interests represented include virtually the entire spectrum of U. S. business, educational, religious, local, national, and international pursuits. The diversity of those groups can be illustrated Opposing new regulations are ( 1) insurance companies, ( 2) HMO trade groups, ( 3) the United States Chamber of Commerce, ( 4) the National Federation of Independent Business, and ( 5) the American Association of Health Plans. Conflicting interests and major lobbying is national energy legislation. The Nature of Lobbying: Public perceives that only big business lobbies, a variety of special interests do it too. Fortune, for example, ranked the top 25 lobbying groups in Washington in terms of influence: 1. American Association of Retired Persons ( AARP) 2. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
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3. The National Federation of Independent Business 4. The National Rifle Association 5. The AFL- CIO. Competing lobbying efforts, of course, often cancel each other out. The Problem of Influencing Peddling: Deep public suspicion exists about former legislators and officials who capitalize on their connections and charge large fees for doing what is commonly described as influence peddling. Many members of Congress also become lobbyists immediately after leaving office. Even congressional staff members who know intimately the structure and operations of key committees begin second careers as lobbyists. Regulation of Lobbying: Key provisions/ restrictions that have expanded the definition of lobbyist: The new law defined a lobbyist as someone hired to influence lawmakers, government officials or their aides, and who spends at least 20 percent of his or her time representing any client in a six- month period.
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