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Interest Groups in Action

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Title: Interest Groups in Action Last modified by: Warren Hills Created Date: 3/20/2005 9:17:37 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Interest Groups in Action


1
Interest Groups in Action
2
Activities of Interest Groups
  • Interest groups attempt to influence policy by
    supplying public officials with things they want

3
Activities of Interest Groups
  • Credible information
  • Public support
  • Money
  • Trouble

4
Credible Information
  • Includes policy info to allow a legislator to
    take a position on an issue or technical info
    needed to implement a policy

5
Credible Information
  • Interest group is most powerful when the issue is
    narrow technical there are no competing
    interest groups to supply competing info

6
Credible Information
  • Supplying info may involve political cues
  • Allows a public official to line up on the
    liberal or conservative side of the issue

7
Public Support
  • Grassroots mobilization is a tactic chosen by an
    increasing number of interest groups
  • Environmental interest groups have successfully
    mobilized support for against legislators with
    the Dirty Dozen campaign

8
Money
  • Interest groups can establish PACs to finance
    political campaigns
  • Lobby Congress to reduce or increase
    appropriations for gov. agencies provide jobs
    for former gov officials (revolving door)

9
Money
  • To obtain money beyond member dues, interest
    groups have turned to
  • Foundation grants
  • Federal grants contracts
  • Direct mail solicitation

10
Trouble
  • Tactics such as protest marches, sit-ins,
    picketing, violence have always been part of
    politics
  • Used by both left right

11
Purpose of Trouble
  • Disrupt the workings of some institutions to
    force it to negotiate with you
  • Enlist the support of third parties (media)
  • Provoke attacks arrests are made so that
    martyrs are created

12
Regulating Interest Groups
  • Many policies have been enacted to regulate
    interest groups
  • All must deal with the fact that interest group
    activity is a form of political speech protected
    by the First Amendment

13
Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946
  • Register with the secretary of the Senate clerk
    of the House of Rep.
  • File quarterly financial reports

14
Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946
  • Supreme Ct. upheld the law
  • Limited its impact to groups whose principal
    purpose is to influence legislation
  • Both the law Supreme Ct. ruling left
    significant loopholes for interest groups to
    exploit

15
Regulating Interest Groups
  • In 1995 Congress passed tighter regulatory
    legislation
  • New law broadened the definition of lobbyist

16
Interest Group Regulation 1995 Law
  • Require more advocates to register with the House
    Senate
  • Require lobbyists to require more info about
    clients

17
Regulating Interest Groups 1995 Law
  • Lobbyists must now register if they spend at
    least 20 of their time lobbying and/or paid
    5,000 or more for lobbying in any 6 month period
  • Corps groups must register if they spend more
    than 20,000 in any 6 month period on their
    lobbying staff

18
1995 Law
  • Lobbyists must submit biannual reports that list
  • Names of their clients
  • Income and expenditures
  • Issues on which they worked

19
1995 Law
  • Although the law did not establish a new
    enforcement agency, violations may be referred to
    the Justice Dept for investigation
  • Fines for breaking the laws could amount to
    50,000

20
1995 Law
  • Barred those tax-exempt nonprofit groups
    currently receiving federal funds from lobbying
  • Most effective restraints on interest group
    activity may result from tax code (threatens to
    revoke groups tax-exempt status if it engages in
    lobbying)

21
1995 Law
  • Spending limits can be circumvented by bundling
  • Bundling occurs when a PAC solicits funds for a
    candidate a donor writes the check for the
    candidate
  • All of these checks are delivered as a bundle

22
1995 Law
  • Federal campaign records reflect a series of
    individual donations the PACs role is not
    evident
  • Bundling has become one of the most common PAC
    practices has been used with considerable
    success

23
Regulating Interest Groups
  • An outstanding practitioner of bundling is
    EMILYs List
  • PAC that supports pro-choice, Democratic women
    candidates

24
Regulating Interest Groups
  • Even the best regulations may be ineffective
    barriers against the power of interest groups
    PACs
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