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Interest Groups and Lobbying


Interest Groups and Lobbying Organizing for Influence and Access – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Interest Groups and Lobbying

Interest Groups and Lobbying
  • Organizing for Influence and Access

Interest Group Show Tell
  • Bring an artifact that represents an interest
    group - Thursday
  • What is name of group? - Acronym
  • What public policy are you trying to influence?
  • What issue(s) are you promoting?
  • Who are you lobbying?
  • Which Presidential candidate did your group
    support? Why?

Federalist 10 - James Madison
  • Warned of mischief of faction
  • Argued that the best way to control it was
    through the proliferation of groups so that no
    one group could get hegemony over other groups.
  • Questions to think about Was he right?
  • Does the proliferation of groups keep a balance
    in the system? Keep one group from becoming
    too powerful? Has corrupted the whole

Interest Group
  • Used to be called pressure groups
  • Interest seen as less forceful
  • An organized body of individuals who share some
    goals and who try to influence public policy
  • Educate and mobilize large numbers of people
  • Advance certain policy goals and benefits to its

Formation of Interest Groups
  • Form when the need arises when a group of
    unorganized people are adversely affected by
  • Success of group is usually determined by the
    quality of its leadership
  • Martin Luther King - benefits outweigh the costs
  • Quality of group membership
  • Well educated, understand the system
  • 30 of all I.G. formed 1960-1980.

1960s - 1980s Rise in Public Interest Groups
  • Common Cause, Public Citizen
  • Devoted to interests of blacks, women, elderly,
    poor, consumers, environment
  • Influenced by NAACP, ACLU, Civil Rights Movement

Conservative 1980s
  • Religious and ideological conservatives
  • Moral Majority - Jerry Falwell contributed to
    Reagans presidency
  • Pat Robertson - 700 Club, Christian Coalition
  • Ban on abortions, repeal marriage penalty,
    constitutional amendment allowing prayer in

Offices in DC Lobbyist in DC
Corporations 20.6 45.7
Trade Assoc 30.6 17.9
Foreign Corp .5 6.5
Prof. Assoc 14.8 6.9
Unions 3.3 1.7
Citizen Grps 8.7 4.1
Civil Rts/Min. 1.7 1.3
Soc Welfare 1.3 .6
Govern. 1.4 4.2
1st Amendment
  • Petition government is a constitutionally
    protected activity
  • Guarantees the right to be heard
  • Special interest can not be regulated
  • Advocacy groups - special groups
  • 1st amendment protection

What Interests are Represented?
  • Economic interests of their membership
  • Wages, tariffs, jobs, insurance etc.
  • Largest groups are associated with business and
  • Better financed than labor interests
  • Professional Associations AMA
  • Mix between economic interests and non-economic
  • Ethnic Associations - NAACP
  • Mix between eco and non-eco interests

  • Non-economic Groups
  • Public interest groups
  • Membership working for the greater good of the
  • Unsafe At Any Speed - Ralph Nader
  • AARP-nations largest most powerful
  • League of Women Voters
  • Work to get citizens registered to vote
  • Voter guide on issues
  • Promoting democracy
  • Do not receive any economic benefit

Single Issue Group
  • Narrow in focus
  • Organizations that are about one issue only
  • Membership tries to influence political system on
    this issue only
  • Number of these groups increasing over last 40
  • Also constitutionally protected
  • Often will go against a candidates entire
    platform based on the one issue

Activities Interest Groups Engage In
  • 1. Information
  • Try to get their interest heard
  • Some feel is used - most important
  • Information most important resource interest
    groups can provide
  • Oil price crisis - Petroleum Institute, an
    interest group of oil companies

  • 2. Lobbying
  • Late 19th century groups had to wait outside of
    Congress in the lobby to speak with a
  • Role to influence congressional actions
  • Testify in front of Congress
  • Help with drafting of legislation
  • Provide the language needed
  • Performed with all 3 branches of government -
    usually associated with Congress
  • Revolving door - Senator must wait 2 years before
    being able to lobby old job-Rep 1 yr

  • Disclosure
  • Right to lobby not unrestricted
  • Gov responsible to see groups are legit
  • What capacity group is acting
  • Accountability
  • Regulation? Dilemma of Reform
  • Levels the playing field? Unequal access?
  • Free Speech, therefore, not stifled?
  • Gov right to determine legitimacy of pol.

  • Regulation of lobbying has been demanded, but
    very little has been done
  • Lobbying Disclosure Act 1995
  • Public access to lobbying groups
  • Definition of lobbyist - one who devotes at least
    20 of a clients or employers time to lobbying
  • Requires registration with the clerk of the House
    and secretary of the Senate
  • Report their clients and issues and the agency or
    house they lobbied
  • Estimate the amount they are paid by each client

  • 2006 The Legislative Transparency and
    Accountability Act
  • Result of scandal involving a lobbyist Jack
  • Bars lobbyists from buying gifts and meals for
  • Loophole firms they work for were not barred
  • Lobbyists were to file more frequent and more
    detailed reports on their activities and post on
    a public domain

  • The New Honest Leadership and Open Government
    Act of 2007 (S. 1)
  • Congressional regulations on lobbying activities
  • All of the following interest group activities
    require registration with the government
  • Anyone who spends 20 of his or her time
    influencing legislation
  • Any organization spending 1000/quarter or more
    on influencing legislation
  • Any individual who is paid more than
    2500/quarter for his or her work as a

  1. Closed the revolving door Senators have to wait
    2 years before being able to lobby Congress (was
  2. Cabinet Sec also have to wait 2 years
  3. Prohibits senior staff in Congress from lobbying
    their former offices for 1 year.
  4. Amended Senate and House ethic rules regarding
    lobbyist sponsored events employment
    negotiations, finances, travel

  • 2009 Recovery Act Lobbying Rules
  • Restrictions extended to all persons, not just
    federally registered lobbyists
  • Anyone influencing the process
  • Expansion of information posted on Internet for
    all Americans to see

  • http//
  • Watchdog group - open secrets
  • Allows public access to who or what is behind a
    lobbys agenda
  • 2012 2.45 billion was spent on lobbying for
    Congress/Fed Agencies
  • - 12,016 registered lobbyists who have actively
    lobbied Congress
  • -2011 - 2.47 billion / 12,192 registered
  • 2010 - 3.52 B / 12,976 lobbyists

Spent and Who is Spending it
  • http//
  • Figures on this page are calculations by the
    Center for Responsive Politics based on data from
    the Senate Office of Public Records. Data for the
    most recent year was downloaded on January 2011.

  • Executive Branch lobbying
  • Departments set up for different interests
  • Influence policy decisions at the beginning
  • Pharmaceutical corporations concern with drugs
    being purchased oversees
  • Appeal to Fed Drug Agency
  • Safety issue
  • Lack of control

  • Judiciary Branch lobbying
  • Amicus curiae friend of the court briefs
  • Legal argument filed by someone who is not part
    of the suit but has an interest in the outcome
  • Lobbying of the courts has increased over last 30
    years by interest groups
  • NAACP had trouble getting anything through
    Congress due to Southern influence
  • Executive branch somewhat sympathetic, but
    African-Am population 12 voters
  • Court system best alternative to pursue its
    interests using 14th Amendment

3. Elections
  • Try to influence election outcomes
  • PACs ability to raise and spend for political
  • Funnel into campaigns that support interest
    groups interests
  • Endorse candidates - can deliver a vote
  • Encourage membership to take action
  • Flood Congress with letters, e-mails etc.
  • Grassroots campaigns

Unconventional Means
  • Protests
  • Civil disobedience
  • Demonstrations
  • Operation Rescue surrounded abortion clinics
    trying to prevent patient from entering
  • Congress passed a law restricting how far away
    protesters must be and can not touch
  • Civil Rights Movement

Pluralism v. Elitism
  • Who runs the country?
  • Many influences or just a few
  • Pluralists Interest groups
  • How is power influence distributed?
  • Vast majority of Americans do have their
    interests represented
  • Flaw what about those people who are not
    organized? Ex poor
  • Those who are not organized do they have any

Interest Groups vs. Political Parties
  • Not resp. for administration of gov
  • More homogeneous
  • Smaller membership
  • Common interests
  • Make claims without regard to broader interest or
  • Resp. for admin of gov.
  • Heterogeneous
  • Large membership
  • Diverse interests - coalition of interests
  • Compromise - need to make broader claims due to

The End