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Interest Groups AP Government Unit 4


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Title: Interest Groups AP Government Unit 4

Interest Groups AP GovernmentUnit 4
What is an Interest Group??
  • An interest group is an organization made up of
    people who share common objectives and who
    actively attempt to influence government
    policymakers through direct and indirect
  • Interest Group is an organization of people with
    similar policy goals that tries to influence the
    political process to try to achieve those goals.

What do Interest Groups do?
  • Try to influence public policy
  • Lobbyists try and persuade public officials to
    believe a specific view
  • Every branch and every level of government is
    affected by interest groups

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The Roots and Development of American Interest
  • National Groups Emerge (1830-80)
  • Progressive Era (1890-1920)
  • Organized Labor the American Federation of
    Labor (AFL) (1886)
  • Business and Trade Associations The National
    Association of Manufacturers (NAM) (1895)
  • The Rise of the Interest Group State (1960s and
  • Religious and Ideological Groups
  • Business Groups, Trade and Professional
  • Organized Labor

The Development of American Interest Groups
  • Interest groups have been part of the American
    political landscape since the countrys founding.
  • James Madison in Federalist 10 argued for a
    proliferation of groups so that no one group
    could get hegemony over the other groups.
  • The open nature of the American government
    invites organized political participation.

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Interest Groups should
  • Promote interest in public affairs
  • Provide useful information
  • Serve as watchdogs
  • Represent the interest of Citizens

Why People Join Interest Groups
  • Solidary Incentives
  • For the social contacts
  • League of Women Voters, NAACP, PTSA, American
  • Material Incentives
  • For economic reasons
  • AARP, Farmers Groups, Labor Unions
  • Purposive Incentives
  • For moral causes / crusades
  • Right to-Life, Pro-Choice, Greenpeace

Who Joins Interest Groups?
  • Upper class interest groups- Big Business
  • More affluent join and are active
  • White collar workers
  • Professional groups
  • Working class interest groups- Big Labor
  • Labor unions have been very powerful in past
  • The AFL-CIO broke up in 2004, cutting big labors

Political Parties vs. Interest Groups
  • Political Parties
  • Nominate candidates
  • What to win elections
  • Concerned with many issues
  • Interest Groups
  • Dont nominate
  • Want to influence policies
  • Concerned with one issue

Economic Interest Groups
  • Most interest groups are based on economics
  • Businesses (create favorable environment for
    business to prosper)
  • Agriculture (work for price supports from govt,
    but also limit govt influence)
  • Labor (Call public attention to the legitimate
    needs of working people. Accomplishments
    eight-hour work day child labor laws minimum
    wage laws ...workplace health safety laws)
  • Professional (protect and advance their
    professional field -- to do this, they...publish
    journalsgive awards for excellence
    ...communicate their opinions to govt officials)

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Other Types
  • Cause-based
  • (National Wildlife Federation, League of Women
    Voters, National Rifle Association, MADD)
  • Concerned with the welfare of people
  • (AARP senior citizens, NAACP African
  • Religious Organizations
  • (Christian Coalition, American Jewish Congress)

Honest Lobbyists
  • A lobbyist must be honest and truthful if he or
    she wants to remain effective.
  • Access to lawmakers is critical and if a lobbyist
    gets a reputation of being untruthful or
    disingenuous legislators doors will close.
  • Good lobbyists will also make lawmakers aware of
    the downsides of a bill and the arguments on the
    other side as well.
  • And I have some swamp land in Florida for sale?

  • A Lobbyist is someone whose task it is to
    influence legislation or policymaking
  • Lobbyists are hired by
  • Businesses
  • Trade associations
  • Colleges or universities
  • Foreign countries
  • Anyone else wanting their voice heard on policy
    matters (Health issues, parent issues)

Interest Group Techniques
  • Direct Techniques
  • Lobby at Capitol Hill
  • Have private meetings
  • Meet at social occasions
  • Testify at hearings
  • Drafting legislation
  • Providing political info
  • Supply nomination suggestions
  • Indirect Techniques
  • Generating Public Pressure
  • Use public pressure on hot button issues
  • Use constituents to call lawmakers
  • Build alliances with other groups

Interest Groups have been criticized for
  • Ignoring the wider interest of society
  • Producing confusion and deadlock in Congress
  • Generating so much emotion that they make
    reasoned discussion difficult
  • Having too much influence

What Makes an Interest Group Successful?
  • Leaders having a prominent leader aids in the
    reputation of the group and enhances a group's
    ability to attain its goals.
  • Patrons and Funding funding is critical.
    Without money, it is hard to get your message
  • Members a group must have members to be
    successful. Organizing members allows for
    strength in numbers and pooling of financial

Important Interest Groups to Know
  • AARP- American Association of Retired persons
  • NRA- National Rifle Association
  • ACLU- American Civil Liberties Union
  • NAACP- National Association for the Advancement
    of Colored People
  • Sierra Club- Environmental advocate group
  • AFL-CIO- American Federation of Labor

Others- and Links!
  • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
  • National Coalition for the Homeless
  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition
  • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
  • National Organization for Women (NOW)
  • National Recycling Coalition
  • National Resources Defense Council
  • National Right to Life
  • National Rifle Association
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  • National Water Resources Association
  • Nuclear Waste Citizens Coalition
  • Office Professional Employees International
    Union (OPEIU)
  • PeaceNet
  • People For the American Way
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
  • Physicians for a National Health Program
  • Alliance for Justice
  • American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
  • American Association for Affirmative Action
  • American Association for People with Disabilities
  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  • American Bankers Association (ABA)
  • American Bar Association
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Conservative Union
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • American Federation of State, County, and
    Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  • American Hellenic Educational Progressive
    Association (AHEPA)
  • American Israel Public Affairs Committee
  • American Legion
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • GreenNet (environmental)
  • Greenpeace International
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hollywood Women's Political Committee - HWPC
  • International Association of Machinists
    Aerospace Workers
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • International Union of Bricklayers Allied
  • LaborNet
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • League of Women Voters' Voter Education Project
  • Majority '96
  • Militia Watchdog
  • National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action
    League (NARAL)
  • National Air Traffic Controllers Association
  • National Association for the Advancement of
    Colored People (NAACP)
  • National Association for Public Interest Law
  • National Association of Arab Americans
  • National Association of Baby Boomers
  • National Association of Broadcasters
  • ConflictNet
  • Concord Coalition
  • Congressional Accountability Project
  • Contract with America
  • Bowling Green State University Coalition Against
    the Contract
  • "Contract on America" (book by Ann-Marie Rosato)
  • Council for Responsible Genetics
  • Death Penalty Information Center
  • EcoNet
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • EMILY's List
  • Empower America
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Family Farm Alliance
  • Federation For American Immigration Reform (FAIR)
  • Feminist Majority Foundation Online
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Fund for Constitutional Government
  • Generation X Coalition

Political Action Committees
  • PACS are the so-called political arms of
    interest groups
  • Support candidates with campaign money
  • ½ sponsored by corporations 1/10 by unions
  • 1/3 liberal and 2/3 conservative (2001)
  • Incumbents get most PAC money
  • The revolving door
  • PACS hire former members of Congress to lobby
    their old friends, committees, etc
  • This is legal but Is this Ethical???

Where does ALL the Come From??
  • Member dues
  • Federal grants
  • Direct mail appeals for cash
  • Internet sites
  • Dinners and fundraisers

Money Limits
  • Individuals can give up to 2000 to a candidate
    but PACS can give 10,000 to a candidate
  • Federal money will match presidential campaign
    money but.
  • Parties need at least 5 of vote in previous year
    for presidential candidate to receive funds
  • If that doesnt happen you need PACs!!!

Interest Group Mantra If you give you shall
And now for a bit of fun.
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