Interest Groups by pengxiang


									     Interest Groups Past and Present:
        The “Mischiefs of Faction”
A Nation of Interests
• The founders of the Republic referred to what are present
  day interest groups as Factions.
• James Madison foresaw “factions” as an inevitable
  development, with tendency toward “instability and
• Interest groups are also sometimes called “special
• Some Americans identify with groups distinguished by
  race, gender, ethnicity, age, occupation, or sexual
• Others form groups based on common issues or interests,
  i.e. gun control, tax reduction, education. Such groups or
  associations that seek to influence government in some
  way are called Interest Groups.
     Interest Groups Past and Present:
        The “Mischiefs of Faction”
•Social Movements – a large body of people who are
  interested in a common issue, idea, or concern that is of
  continuing significance and who are willing to take
  action to support or oppose it.
• Interest groups sometimes begin as movements.
• Social movements represent groups that has felt
  unrepresented by government.
•How do they differ?
• Interest groups usually work within the framework of
  government and employ tactics such as lobbying to
  achieve their goals.
• Movements seek to change attitudes or institutions, not
  just policies.
         Types of Interest Groups
•Economic Interest Groups
  • Business – large corporations, including multinationals
  • Trade and Other Associations – businesses with similar
    interests join together as associations which are as
    diverse as the product and services they provide.
  • Labor – workers’ associations with shared interests,
    ranging from professional standards to wage and
    working conditions. Examples: American Farm
    Bureau Federation, United Farm Workers Association,
     •Open shops – union membership cannot required
     •Closed shops – union membership can be required
     •Free riders – individual not in the union but who
      benefits from union activity.
Union Membership in the U.S. Compared to
           Other Countries
Labor Force and Union Membership
  Types of Interest Groups (continued)
•Economic Interest Groups (continued)
   • Professional Associations – professional associations
     with shared interests. Examples: American Medical
     Association, American Bar Association, American
     Federation of Teachers, American Realtors Assoc.
•Ideological or Single-Issue Interest Groups
•Public Interest Groups (PIRGs)
   • Seek to influence policy on Capitol Hill and in several
     state legislatures on environmental issues, safe energy,
     and consumer protection.
•Foreign Policy Interest Groups
•Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs )
 Types of Interest Groups (continued)
•Government & Government Employee Interest
  •Governments are themselves important interest groups.
  •Government employees form a large and well-organized
  •Public employees are increasingly important to
   organized labor because they constitute the fastest-
   growing unions.
•Other Interest Groups
  • Veteran’s groups
  • Nationality groups
  • Religious organizations
  • Environmental groups
Types of Interest Groups: Ideological or
Single-Interest Groups

  The Christian
  distributes voter
  guides before
  elections as one
  means of
  influencing politics
The National Rifle AARP: The Nation’s
   Association     Most Powerful Interest
                     • 36 million members
                     • Offers a wide array of
                       material benefits like
                       insurance and magazines
                     • One of the most influential
                       lobbying groups in D.C.
Types of Interest Groups:
Public Interest Groups
                         Ralph Nader - Ran for
                           president as Green
                           Party candidate in
                           1996 and 2000 and as
                           independent in 2004

Foreign Policy Interest Groups
  •Council on Foreign Relations
  •American-Israel Political Action Committee

Public Sector Interest Groups
  •National Governors Association
  •National League of Cities
  •National Educational Association
Other Interest Groups - Some Environmental
Groups and How They Do Business
Major Organized Interest Groups
Characteristics and Power of Interest
• Collective Action: Refers to how groups
  form and organize to pursue their goals or
  objectives, including how to get individuals
  and groups to participate and cooperate.
• Public Choice: Synonymous with
  “collective action.” Public choice
  specifically studies how government
  officials, politicians, and voters respond to
  positive and negative incentives.
  Characteristics and Power of Interest
•Size and Resources
    •Incentive to participate
•Leadership - Inspirational leadership can be instrumental in building
    •Publicity and Mass Media Appeals
    •Mass Mailing
    •Direct Contact with Government
       •Federal Register – an official document, published
       every weekday, listing the new and proposed
       regulations of executive departments and regulatory
       agencies. Organized groups have ready access to this
       to influence Congress.
Interest Groups: Size and Resources
   Resources can be used to provide selective benefits,
   which can be used to overcome organizational barriers

   •Material benefits
   •Solidarity benefits
   •Purposive benefits
Interest Groups: Cohesiveness
    Types of members in an organization

Small number
                      People              People who are
  of formal                                members in
                   involved with
                     the group              name only
Leadership Profile
 Marian Wright Edelman:
 Lobbyist for the Poor
• Founder and president of the
  Children’s Defense Fund
• Founded the Washington Research

                                    Bruce S. Gordon
                               • In 2005 elected the president
                                 and CEO of the NAACP
                               • Successful businessman who
                                 was named one of the “50 most
                                 Powerful Black Executives” in
                                 2002 by Fortune magazine
 Characteristics and Power of Interest
•Techniques (continued)
      •Amicus curiae (“friends of the court”) briefs –
       filed by an individual or organization to present
       arguments in addition to those presented by the
       immediate parties to a case.
   •Election Activities
   •Forming a Political Party
   •Cooperative Lobbying
   •Candidate Support
Other Techniques
    The Influence of Lobbyists
•Who are the Lobbyists?
A person or persons employed
by and acting for an organized The Iron Triangle
interest group or corporation to
try to influence policy decisions
and positions in the executive
and legislative branches.
•What do Lobbyists Do?
Engage in activities aimed at
influencing public officials,
especially legislators and the
policies they enact. Lobbyists
primarily provide money for
          The Influence of Lobbyists
Who Are the Lobbyists?
• Lobbyists are former public servants.
• Lobbyists are experienced in government.
• Lobbyists often go to work for one of the interests
  they dealt with while in government.
What Do Lobbyists Do?
• Many lobbyists participate in issue networks or
  relationships among interest groups, congressional
  committees, subcommittees, and government agencies that
  share a common policy concern.
• Interest groups provide money for incumbents.
• Interest groups provide information of two important types.
            The Influence of Lobbyists
  What Do Lobbyists Do? (cont.)
  • Interest groups sometimes attempt to influence
    legislators and regulators by going directly to the
    people and urging them to contact public officials.

                  Money and Politics
Interest groups seek to influence politics and public policy
by spending money on elections in several ways.
   • to candidates for their election campaigns, especially in
     contested races.
   • to political parties.
   • to other interest groups.
   • to the members of their group, including employees.
               Money and Politics
•The Growth of Political Action Committees PACs
  • PACs – the political arm of an interest group that is
    legally entitled to raise funds on a voluntary basis
    from members, stockholders, or employees in order to
    contribute to favored candidates or political parties.
•Types of PACs:
  • Corporations
  • Trade and health organizations
  • Labor unions
  • Ideological organizations
            Money and Politics
Political Action Committees (cont.)
• More recently, elected officials have begun to
  form their own PACs called Leadership PACs.
• Leaderships PACs are formed by an
  officeholder who collects contributions from
  individuals and other PACs and then makes
  contributions to other candidates and political
• PACs are important not only because they
  contribute such a large share of the money
  congressional candidates raise for their
  campaigns but also because they contribute so
  disproportionately to incumbents.
Professional Associations - PACs That Gave the Most to
during the 2007-2008 election cycle (millions of dollars)

PAC                                    amount               Democrats          Republicans
Operating Engineers Union                 2.03                       86%                 14%
International Brotherhood of              1.79                       98                   2
         Electrical Worker
AT&T                                      1.78                       38                  62
National Association of Realtors          1.76                       59                  41
Machinists-Aerospace Workers              1.48                       97                   3
American Association for Justice          1.48                       97                   3
American Bankers Association              1.45                       40                  60
National Beer Wholesalers                 1.41                       52                  48
Laborers Union                            1.38                       93                   7
International Association of              1.32                       75                  25
         Fire Fighters
Source: Center for Responsive Politics based on data released by the Federal Elections
         Commission, April 28, 2008
PAC Contributions
 to Congressional

                      Contributions to
                     Candidates for U.S.
                    Congress, 1975–2008
                        (in Millions).
               Money and Politics
Political Action Committees (cont.)
• The law limits the amount of money that PACs, like
  individuals, can contribute to any single candidate in
  an election cycle.
• The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA)
  doubled individual contribution limits and mandated
  that they increase with inflation while leaving PAC
  contribution limits unchanged.
Other Modes of Electioneering
• Another way interest groups can influence the outcome of
  elections is by persuading their employees, members, or
  stockholders to vote in a way consistent with the interests
  of the group.
Other Modes of Electioneering (cont.)
• Until the 2004 election cycle, interest groups and individuals
  could avoid the contribution limitation to political parties by
  contributing so-called soft money to political parties.
• Soft money is money raised in unlimited amounts by political
  parties for party-building purposes.
• Issue Ads: Interest groups could also help fund so-called
  issue ads supporting or opposing candidates as long as the ads
  did not use certain words.
Independent Expenditures
• The Supreme Court has ruled that individuals, groups, and
  parties can spend unlimited amounts in campaigns for or
  against candidates as long as they operate independently from
  the candidates. When an individual, group, or party does so,
  they are making an independent expenditure.
                Money and Politics
  Campaigning Through Other Groups
  • Interest groups found a way to circumvent disclosure and
    contribution limits through issue advocacy.
  • Use of ads that avoided the words “vote for” or “elect”
    but which were clearly for one candidate

In this image from one of
Swift Boat Veterans for
Truth’s television
advertisements, then-
presidential nominee John
Kerry’s patriotism and
Vietnam War record are
called into question.
  How Much Do Interest Groups Influence
       Elections and Legislation?
• Because PACs give more money to incumbents,
  challengers have difficulty funding their campaigns and
  have to rely more on individual contributors.
• Mass-membership organizations fail to mobilize their
  full membership in elections, while they can effectively
  mobilize when their interests are directly attacked.
• Only a fraction of any candidates funds come from a
  single group.
• It is debatable how much campaign contributions affect
• There is no guarantee that money produces a payoff in
 The Effectiveness of Interest
Activity in Elections
  • Tendency of PACs to give money to incumbents
    has meant that challengers face real difficulties in
    getting their campaigns funded.

  • “Too often, members’ first thought is not what is
    right or what they believe, but how it will affect
    fundraising. Who, after all, can seriously contend
    that a $100,000 donation does not alter the way
    one thinks about--and quite possibly votes on--an
    issue?” - Former U. S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-
 How Much Do Interest Groups Influence
      Elections and Legislation?
Curing the Mischiefs of Faction:
• Regulating lobbying
• Regulating political money
• Serious campaign finance reform began in the 1970s
  with the Federal Election Campaign Act (1973)
• Under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, the
  definition of a lobbyist was expanded to include part-
  time lobbyists, those who deal with congressional staff
  or executive branch agencies, and those who represent
  foreign-owned companies and foreign entities.
Curing the Mischiefs of Faction–
     Two Centuries Later
The 2002 Campaign Finance Reforms
•In 1992, President George H.W. Bush vetoed a bill.
•Increased momentum with Sen. John McCain and Enron

•The Effects of Regulation
•Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 signed by George
 W. Bush limiting soft money and PAC contributions.
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
   Passed in 2002 to update FECA of 1973.
   Outlaws use of soft money.
   Limits individual and political action committee funds.
   Political parties become larger players.
   Allows donations from “leadership PACs.”
   Does not regulate use of personal money.
   Regulates the use of public and matching funds.
Contribution Limits
  Curing the Mischiefs of Faction–
       Two Centuries Later
2007 Honest Leadership and Open Government Act
  Bans gifts, toughens disclosure, increases time limits.

Other Attempts: 1978 Ethics in Government Act
________ is an example of a public interest

a. National Association for the
   Advancement of Colored people
b. Planned Parenthood
c. Chambers of Commerce
d. National Education Association
PACs that collect contributions from a
number of individuals and present them as a
single package to a candidate engage in the
practice of ________.

 a.   Targeting
 b.   Bundling
 c.   Giving soft money
 d.   Influence peddling
Ralph Nader, the American Civil
Liberties Union, and the NAACP
have depended heavily upon ______
to influence public policy.
   a. campaign contributions
   b. persuasion
   c. direct action
   d. litigation
The 2002 campaign finance reform
law bans
   a. Hard money
   b. Soft money
   c. PACs
   d. Funny money
According to the 2002 law, how
much can an individual contribute
to a federal candidate in the general
    a. $1,000
    b. $2,000
    c. $4,000
    d. $10,000

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