7-InterestGroups - Political Linkage Intermediaries in the Link between People and Public Policy INTEREST GROUPS AND BUSINESS BUSINESS CORPORATIONS

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Unformatted text preview: Political Linkage: Intermediaries in the Link between People and Public Policy INTEREST GROUPS AND BUSINESS BUSINESS CORPORATIONS Interest Interest Groups in a Democratic Society Definition: private organizations that tr y to shape public policy ◦ aka, “special interests” ◦ Lobbying: the physical act of contacting members of Congress Americans have historically been suspicious of groups banding together to promote their interests Interest Interest groups are different from political political parties? How, you say? They do not engage in electioneering Interest Interest Groups in a Democratic Society The “factions are evil” argument: ◦ Interest Groups have a narrow selfinterest ◦ Function without regard for the public good ◦ “Corrupting” Look at Federalist #10 by Madison Interest Interest Groups in a Democratic Society ◦ The pluralist argument: interest groups are OK because people are free to join or organize groups that reflect their own interests Interest Group Formation Interest Why do interest groups form? ◦ Elections do not adequately communicate what we want ◦ Groups are easy to form Protected by the First Amendment Federalism and its dispersal of power creates many access points for groups to approach ◦ American government is open to the th influence of these groups Interest Interest Group Formation When do interest groups form? ◦ Interest groups flourish under certain fl conditions When there are many interests When the political culture supports the pursuit of private interests When the rules make it easy to organize What What Interests are Represented? Types of interests groups ◦ Public: connected with the general welfare of the community lf ◦ Private: Producers Professionals Unions Citizens’ groups Yep, Yep, you too? What What Do Interest Groups Do? Inside Game ◦ Direct contact between a group representative representative and government officials Access to policy makers Lobbyists are often retired policymakers Most effective when the issue is narrow and does not command a lot of attention What What Do Interest Groups Do? Inside game (con’t) ◦ Lobbying Executive branch Access Congress Access Information Expertise What What Do Interest Groups Do? Inside game (con’t) ◦ Lobbying The Judiciary Amicus curiae briefs Confirmation battles Threats to the independence of the judiciary? What What Do Interest Groups Do? Outside game ◦ Indirect form of influence that involves efforts to mobilize public opinion, voters and important voters contributors to pressure public officials Mobilization of membership Organizing the area Shaping public opinion Involvement in campaigns and elections What What Do Interest Groups Do? Possible Possible Flaws in the Pluralist System Representational inequalities Resource inequalities ◦ Soft money: expenditures on public education, voter registration, and voter mobilization Has no limits Banned in 2002: resulted in 527 organizations ◦ Independent expenditures: money spent on ads and on behalf of candidates or issues not connected with the campaign Has no limits No one gives something without expecting something in return Possible Possible Flaws in the Pluralist System Access inequality ◦ Iron triangles: the three-way relationship among a bureaucratic agency, an interest group and a congressional committee or sub-committee ◦ Does money = access? Possible Possible Flaws in the Pluralist System • • • The public activity of these groups are easily monitored It is the “behind the scenes” activities of groups and corporations that brings into question question the pluralist argument The minutia of legislation and regulation is the the area of concern Curing Curing the Mischief of Factions Disclosure – Why? “The politics of faction is Why? The usually the province of the privileged” ◦ Public Utilities Act (1935) required lobbyists for that industry to register with Congress all lobbyists have been required to do so since 1946 ◦ 1993: Congress required all lobbyists to report on their activities ◦ Ethics in Government Act (1978) prohibits former officials from lobbying their former agency for one year on any issue in which the person was substantially involved Interest Interest Groups and Democracy Some political scientists suggest that in order to decrease the power of interests groups, we should strengthen the institutions of majoritarian democracy such as political parties, the presidency and Congress Can we decrease inequalities among interest groups without trampling on our liberties? ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2012 for the course POL 1 taught by Professor Robertbrown during the Fall '05 term at Riverside Community College.

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