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Interest Groups

What are Interest Groups?

  • Interest Group: Any organization with a shared interest that seeks to influence public policy (Wilson).
  • Comprised of a group of people sharing an interest, with the goal of getting Congress to pass or amend laws that affect them directly.
  • Interest groups are often the most motivated of individuals getting together to support an issue and for this reason interests groups might represent minorities of people.
    • While this may seem unfair, any group of like-minded people can generate an interest group with enough followers and support, but the interest groups with more funding and members are the most successful and the ones that make the most impact.
  • Issue Network: A network of people in Washington D.C. - based interest groups, on congressional staffs, in universities and think tanks, and the mass media, who regularly discuss and advocate public policies.
  • Interest groups operate at every level of government in America's federal system (Krieger 65).
  • The networks are continuous, split along political, ideological, and economic lines.
  • When the president takes office, he often recruits key agency officials from those members of the issue network who are most sympathetic to his view (Wilson).

The Birth of Interest Groups

  • The more cleavages there are in society, the greater the variety of interests that will exist.
  • The American constitutional system contributes to the number of interest groups by multiplying the points at which such groups can gain access to the government.
    • In Great Britain, where the prime minister wields most of the political influence, there is not much opportunity for interest groups to make their ideas known. In the United States, the three branches of government provide many places for interest groups to be heard.
  • The weakness of political parties in this country may help explain the number and strength of interest groups (P. 266 Wilson and Dilulio)
  • According to Wilson, Interest groups have grown at a rapid rate since the 1960s, but they have existed since the conception of the nation with groups like Sons of Liberty, who would deliver pamphlet propaganda to pubs up and down the colonies. In the 1960 's however more citizens started participating in activism due to the Vietnam War and civil rights issues. Also since the 1960's about 70% of interest groups have set up an office in Washington D.C.
  • It was during the 1930s or even earlier that the government began making policies important to business and labor. (Wilson and Dilulio 268)
  • 1960s and 1970s were boom years for interest groups. However, there are other examples of booms in interest groups such as the 1830's and 1840's with religious and antislavery groups. In addition to those there are the trade unions that sprouted up in the 1860 and in the 1880's and 1890's business associations proliferated (Wilson).
  • the greater the activity of government the greater the number of interest groups (Wilson)
  • The fact that associations in general, and political interest groups in particular, are created more rapidly in some periods than in others suggests that these groups do not arise out of natural social processes
    • Four Factors to the Birth of Interest Groups
      • Broad economic developments (ex. Farmers did not start interest group until "mass-production industry was operated by large corporations" (Wilson).
        • ex: wars create veterans, who in turn demand pensions and other benefits (Wilson)
        • Someone must exercise leadership, often at substantial personal cost (Wilson)
        • Organizations serve to monitor the growing number of government agencies and activities
        • A great majority of "public interest" lobbies, social welfare associations, and the elderly etc, established offices in Washington after 1960

Growth of Interest Groups

  • The number of interest groups has increased from 6,000 in 1959 to approximately 22,000 in 2010 (Krieger 66)
    • As more variation in standpoints in society occur, greater variation in interests( and in turn interest groups) result. This is a nation comprised of immigrants with different cultures and ideals. The differences in income and occupation within the American people also help to create the diversity of interests we find in the United States (Wilson).
      • For example, in Federalist No. 10 James Madison stated that: "The latent cause of faction are thus sown in the nature of man."
    • American constitutional system increases the number of interest groups by multiplying the points the groups can gain access to the government
      • With power divided among the national, state, and local governments, people are given plenty of opportunities to argue one's case.
      • The more chances there are to influence policy, the more organizations there will be that seek to exercise that influence.
    • Weakness of political parties help increase the number and strength of interest groups
      • Where parties are strong, interests work through the parties' where parties are weak, interests operate directly on the government
      • At times, certain interest groups like the AFL-CIO support a single political party, interest groups and political parties are not as closely knit here in the United States as they are in Europe where each party has their own set of interest groups (Wilson).
    • broad economic developments: The growth of an economy gives rise to new interest and updates the old ones. Stable economic times are less likely to produce interest groups.
      • Ex: Farmers became formed organizations to become politically active only when most farmers began to produce cash crops for sale in markets that were unstable or affected by factors they could not control - weather, railroads, foreign competition (Wilson 267).
      • Ex: The industrial revolution brought mass production that produced the necessity for labor unions
    • government policy: Conflict that arises on a newly formed or an existing government policy is also responsible for the creating various interest groups.
      • Wars create war veterans. These veterans then demand pensions and other benefits.
        • Example: The Grand Army of the Republic which is made of Union veterans of the Civil War. By the 1920s, these veterans were receiving about a quarter of a billion dollars a year.
      • The government also encouraged for the creation of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) by paying for country agents who would serve the needs of farmers under the supervision of local farm organizations (Wilson & Dilulio 267).
      • Professional associations have emerged because state governments determine who is qualified to become a doctor or lawyer.
    • Emergence of strong leaders: Strong leaders with a strong influence can develop an organized following which in turn leads to the creation on interest groups. To successfully create a group, there must be someone that is willing to lead and provide a voice.
      • "They are often young, caught up in a social movement, drawn to the need for change, and inspired by some political or religious doctrine"(Wilson and Dilulio).
          • Antislavery organizations were created in 1830s and 1840s by enthusiastic young people influenced by political and religious doctrine.
          • There were many national organizations in the period from 1890 to 1920 because it was a time when the college-educated middle class was growing (Wilson and Dilulio 267).
    • The expanding of role of government: political organizations do not emerge automatically, and the more activities government undertakes, the more organized groups there will be.
      • Because the government takes on more tasks, interest groups are more interested in what the government undertakes so that their views and actions will be able to influence public policy.
      • Many Washington offices representing corporations, labor unions, and trade and professional associations were established before 1960 because in 1930 (or even earlier) the government began making policies important to business and labor.
        • example: social welfare , civil rights, the elderly, and handicapped associations

Types of interest groups

  • Institutional interests:According to Wilson and Dilulio, these are individuals or organizations representing other organizations or ideologies.
    • examples: American Federation of Labor, The Chamber of Commerce, General Motors
    • Represent business firms such as the American Cotton Manufacturers Institute represent southern textile mills as well as governments, foundations, and universities like how the American Council on Education (claims to) represent most institutions of higher education and the American Public Transit Association represents local mass transit systems. (Wilson 269).
    • Individuals or organizations that represent other organizations tend to be interested in bread-and-butter issues of vital concern to their clients.
    • The Chamber of Commerce represents multiple businesses
    • The focus of these organizations, which stand for other organizations, is to find some common ground between the various interests of all of the organizations that it may be representing. Therefore, the interests focused upon tend to be those of crucial importance to all the groups involved. For example, since the Chamber of Commerce represents a multitude of businesses, it only favors those issues upon which all of the individual businesses have a general consensus. As, Wilson and Dilulio state, the Chamber will therefore support measures such as tax cuts, and will not take any definite stance on tariffs. tax cuts are welcomed by most businesses, while the issue of tariffs varies from domestic business to those businesses that operate on an international scale (Wilson and Dilulio 269).
  • Membership Interests: According to Wilson and Dilulio, these are where the members in the interest group act solely on their behalf, for their interest.
    • example: AFSCA, AARP. The AARP being ones of the biggest interest groups in the united states, holding up to 30 million members throughout the U.S. AARP benefits elders over the age of 55 and they are solely focused on their own benefits and no one else's.
    • According to Wilson and Dilulio Americans are no more likely than British to join social, business, veterans, or charitable organizations, and are less likely to join labor unions (which, for the record, are probably called "labor unions" in Britain). Americans have an unusually high tendency to join religious and civic associations.
    • Americans are more likely than Europeans to to think that organized activity is an effective way to influence the national government.
    • Most people do not join mass-membership interest groups because they are rational in the sense that they know that they cannot make a difference in the interest group's success, and that they will still benefit from the interest group if they are not a member, so they would rather use their time and money towards something else unless they got something out of joining.
    • People join civic groups for a greater sense of efficacy and duty
  • Public-Interest Law Firms
    • A public-interest lobby that advances its causes by bringing lawsuits to challenge existing practices.
    • Public-interest law firms either search for one who has been harmed by a public/private policy and bring suit on one's behalf or it will file an amicus curiae brief (Wilson and Dilulio)
    • Some of the most well known public-interest lobby groups (more specifically liberal ones) were the ones associated with or found by Ralph Nader (Wilson).
  • Labor Unions
    • These groups are really involved in the political process, they seek to ensure that workers are treated fairly and are paid well
    • Labor unions use collective bargaining in order to set wage rates favorable to their constituency.
  • Public Interest Groups
    • These groups help serve the public interest, usually combating private desire to maximize profits. An example may be pollution and contamination of public goods such as air and water.
  • Economic Groups
    • These groups are focused on economic issues, mainly business and trade

Incentives to Join
intended to promote a sense of political efficacy
Incentive- Something of value one cannot get without joining an organization.
Types of Incentives:
  • Solidary incentives: the social pleasure or companionship that are a result of the small groups. (National interest groups that give solidary incentives often have smaller localized groups that can better offer the incentive.)
    • Solidary incentives only work when there are face-to-face contact meetings. Therefore, large national interest groups must have small local chapters. Those local chapters often function very independently from national headquarters.
    • It is the task of the local chapters is to lure members and obtain funds from them.
    • The job of local chapters is to get members and obtain funds from them.
    • When an interest group relies on solidarity incentives, the members are often quite varied in their goals and interests. There are no set goal or interest. In this case, it is the staff of the interest group that determines the interest group's goals.
    • ex: The League of Women Voters, NAACP, PTA, and the Rotary club are all examples of groups that tend to offer solidary incentives.
    • ex. They could offer a opportunity to meet new people, or to have less discrimination (NAACP).
  • Material incentives: money and services that a member may receive
    • money or things and services that are readily valued on monetary terms
    • ex: The AARP (Association of Retired Persons) is a group that offers material incentives that is funded by federal grants, such as low cost life insurance, mail order discount drugs and tax advice. (Wilson and Dilulio)The group could also offer to give its members a better retirement plan, or to make more money in your profession.
    • ex. The Illinois Farm Bureau offers to its members–and only to its members–a chance to buy farm supplies at discount prices, to market their products through cooperatives, and to purchase low-cost insurance..
  • Purposive incentive: a benefit that comes from serving a cause or principle (Wilson and Dilulio).
    • If the attainment of those goals will also benefit people who do not join, individuals who do join will have to be those that feel feel very passionately about the goal.
    • These groups are generally productive, since the members have a set goal.
    • Individuals are usually religious
    • most of the time these are the basis for ideological groups
    • Recruit members and are passionate or strong about their sense of duty.
    • many women's interest groups have purposive incentives, especially those against the feminist movement
    • The NRA lobbies against firearm control laws

  • Ideological Interest Groups:political organizations that attract members by appealing to their political convictions or principles (Wilson and Dilulio).
    • Ideological interest groups appeal to citizens by prodding at controversial ideas with research and lawsuits.
    • As their name states, they are more about supporting actual ideas rather than about being the most eminent group available.
    • They tend to be smaller because of their limited support, but are focused on bringing their support to the attention of others and representing an idea, sometimes a controversial one, and showing that there are those who do stand behind it.
    • These interest groups do best in a hostile environment because of their need to take advantage of a crisis to still be relatable and important to the public.
    • 2/3 of Ideological groups are conservatives.
    • Some members join simply because the cost of joining is minimal and they are indifferent to whether they join the group or not.
    • Controversial interest groups, like those dealing with abortion and gay rights fall under this category.
  • Public-interest lobby:A political organization whose goals will principally benefit nonmembers.
    • Whether the public at large will really benefit is of course a matter of opinion, but at least the group members think that they are working selflessly for the common good.
    • Public-interest lobbies may pursue noncontroversial goals, but the most visible are controversial.
    • Because they are highly controversial, they attract many members.
  • The best known of the liberal public interest groups are those associated with Ralph Nader.
    • Popular figure in the mid 1960s after GM attempted to investigate and discredit his background at a time when he was testifying in favor of an auto safety bill.
  • Influence of the Staff
    • Many issues affect different members differently; if members joined to obtain solidary or material benefits, they may not care at all about many of the issues the organization focuses on.
    • This means that the staff is free to pursue whatever goals they want, and members will stay for other reasons.
Interest Groups and Social Movements
  • Social Movement: A widely shared demand for change in some aspect of the social or political order.
  • Social movements are often where a large surge of support or members in an interest groups come from.
  • Social movements do not need to have liberal goals.
  • Since it is difficult to attract people with purposive incentives, interest groups employing them tend to arise out of social movements
    • Smallest organizations have most liberal members.
    • Scandals (like the oil spill in Santa Barbara) and important events (like sit-ins during the civil rights movement) can start these social movements (Wilson and Dilulio).
    • The environmental movement.
      • The Sierra Club was organized in the 1890's as a way to deal with the major issues of conservation.
      • In the 1930s the Wilderness Society and National Wildlife Federation took form because conservation was becoming a major issue.
      • The Environmental Defense Fund and Environmental Action were created in the 1960s and 1970s.
      • The environmental movement does not reflect action solely on behalf of interest groups; nowadays, environmentalists lobby on the majoritarian, client, and entrepreneurial sides as well.
      • A main focus of the environmental movement is the conservation of natural resources through changes in public policy as well as the behavior of individuals.
    • The feminist movement
      • National Organization for Women (NOW) and National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).
      • Women's Equality Action League (Weal): an organization that gains revenue with government grants and financial support and deals with supporting lawsuits aimed at protecting women's right in higher education and other institutions (Wilson)
        • Those that rely chiefly on solidarity incentives. They are usually composed of middle-class, educated women and support causes that command the widest support among women generally.
        • Those that attract members with purposive incentives. They take strong positions, tackle divisive issues, and employ militant tactics.
        • The caucus that takes on specific issues that have some material benefit to women.
      • There were also groups (anti-feminist) that counteracted ERA because they believe it went against their religious views.
    • The Union Movement
      • When social movements cease to exist, the organizations that are left behind i.e. unions continue the fight.
      • The major union movement occurred after the Great Depression in the 1930s when reliance on unions gained popular support. Since 1945, the peak of union membership, membership has has declined because the movement that supported unionism has faded. Since the union membership has fallen more or less steadily, so that by 2002 only 11 percent of all workers were unionized (Wilson and Dilulio 275).However, unions will persist because members rely on the incentives gained by unions.
      • Unions for those that work in government affiliated jobs, one the other hand, are gaining prominence and enlarging in membership. In contrast other unions, as mentioned, are losing members. For example, from 1979 to 2002 the teacher's union, American Federation of Teachers, increased dramatically in size from about 423,000 members to about 1,300,000 members (Wilson and Dilulio 276).
    • the most passionate people will be the fewest in number and they will gravitate to the organizations that take the most extreme positions (these organizations are small but extremely determined and vocal)
    • the more numerous and less passionate people will gravitate toward more moderate, less vocal, but larger organizations
  • Many social movements will spawn numerous organizations.

Public Support: The Rise of the New Politics
  • Early on, before the television, lobbyists used the insider strategy by working closely with a few key members of Congress, usually meeting privately to exchange information and sometimes favors
  • Information is the most important tactic interests groups use- they gather information (favoring their stand) for busy legislators so the legislators can make decisions on the issue.
  • Lobbyists used to use an insider strategy where they met with legislators privately to discuss matters. Now the outsider strategy is more common today to spread information to the public in hopes that the public will put pressure on legislators.

Potential Bias in Lobbying
Two reasons why observers believe that interest groups active in Washington reflect an upper-class bias
  • "Well-off people are more likely than poor people to join and be active in interest groups" (Wilson, DiIulio p. 278).
  • The educated tend to be more interested in helping interest groups financially.
  • Interest groups representing businesses are more numerous than those representing minorities,consumers, or the disadvantaged.
  • A study found that over half of thousands of groups represented in Washington were corporations, 1/3 represented professional and trade associations, 4% were public interest groups, and only 2% were civil rights groups (Wilson)
How Interest Groups Influence the Government
According to the Princeton Review, these are some of the tactics that interest groups can use to persuade government officials:
  • file class action suits to help and safeguard their interest
  • give amici curiarum, or to voluntarily appear before court while not representing a particular party of the case, and give information that may help the court come to a decision
  • endorse candidates
    • This is done mainly by supporting a particular part or parts of the candidate's platform, in order for legislation favoring their interests to be passed when that particular candidate is in office.
    • Interest groups usually rally both sides, creating a "win-win" situation in that they will gain some legislative influence despite who is elected to office.
  • form PACs (political action committees) to donate money to politicians, candidates, and political parties that agree with their goals
    • Corporations, trade groups, and unions are some examples of those that are not allowed to make political donations, so they form PACs in order to do this.
    • PACs have been limited in donations because of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. The constitutionality of this act was upheld in the Supreme Court case McConnell v. Federal Election Commission.
    • Over half of all PACs are sponsored by corporations, about a tenth by labor unions, and the rest by various groups.(Wilson)
    • While both parties have become extremely dependent on PACs, PACs are not as rich and powerful as they seem. A PACs contribution is rather small, usually a few hundred dollars accounting for less than 1% of a candidates receipts.
  • have their followers contact their legislators and ask for support for a certain issue (such as programs and legislation) through telegrams, e-mails, faxes, and telephone calls
  • directly lobby towards government officials and try to convince them to support their cause
  • Testifying before Congress. Interest groups provide expert witnesses at committee hearings.
  • grassroots lobbying: have interested group members/outsiders organize to influence policymakers
    • Starts at local level, aiming to eventually reach the legislature in hopes to make a difference in decision making.
    • Occurs through the process of asking the public to contact elected officials regarding certain issues.
  • coalition lobbying: several interest groups work together with common goals to influence policymakers
  • hold social gatherings to makes connections and relations with government officials
  • use various means of propaganda (advertisements, press releases, etc)
  • employ former government officials, and using their "connections" to improve their group.
    • This is also known as the "revolving door", where government officials join an interest group.
      • There is fear that government officials in high positions may be bribed by private corporations to advance the interests relevant to that corporations. For example, these officials may accept job offers from the corporations on the basis that they aid the corporation. Additionally, there is also the fear that those who have left government offices may use their reputation to obtain benefits for a corporation through "inside dealing" (Wilson and Dilulio 284).
      • there are few cases in which these relationships have been abused
      • For example, a deputy chief of staff that served during the Reagan administration was considered guilty of using his influence amongst government officials to benefit his public relations firm (Wilson and Dilulio 284).
  • rallying their membership. Public interest groups often engage in grassroots campaigning by contacting members and asking them to write, phone or e-mail their legislators in support of a particular program or piece of legislation.
    • A good example is the occupy movement
  • Provide financial support to candidates that support their interests
  • Iron Triangles: A coalition between a government agency, a congressional committee, and an interest group to influence the policy-making process.
  • Ex: American Association for Retired People, House subcommittee on Aging, and Social Security Administration
    • Iron triangles are examples of client politics.

How Interest Groups Acquire Finances
  • Foundation grants- grants from supporting organizations that an interest group applies for
    • 10% of interest groups receive over 90% of their funds from these
    • around one-third of lobbying groups receive more than half of their funds from foundation grants
    • The groups that tend to receive foundation grants are primarily liberal, which include law firms that don't tend to have any members except staff lawyers
  • Federal grants and contracts- funds from the federal government, received conditionally
    • usually awarded for a project the interest group has undertaken, rather than the group itself
    • Some big organizations that are primarily funded by federal grants are Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, and the Jewish Federations (Wilson and Dilulio, 277)
    • These groups use their grants to provide diverse social services and run various community projects. (Wilson and Dilulio, 277)
  • Direct mail- sent to an interest group's members or another specialized audience persuading recipients to donate
    • this method is effective but expensive: donations must be acquired from at least 2% of the audience for the benefits to, at minimum, match the costs
    • Ideological PACs raise funds mainly through direct mail.
    • Modern day interest groups can use computers to distribute a great amount direct mail.
    • Some methods used to get people to donate money is by using teasers, emotional appeals, using a celebrity, and a personal letter.
  • An interest group may or may not charge for membership
  • When an interest group wants to work to change government policy, they need funds to pay for the activities they do to reach the goal of the group

Activities of Interest Groups:
  • Wilson and Dilulio claim that "the single most important" tactic of interest groups is "supplying credible information." (pg. 279) It's important to supply credible information because legislators don't have the time to become experts on all issues they encounter. Therefore, if a lobbyist can present information to a legislator in an organized and persuasive manner, then the legislator is very likely to adopt the lobbyist's position.
  • Lobbyists must also take caution to not be misleading or to provide false information; if so, the legislator endorsing the interest group will damage may have their reputation damaged by a faulty idea he or she supported months or even years ago.
  • Lobbyists can usually be trusted because it is in the best interest of their careers to maintain a reputation of being factual and honest. (Wilson and Dilulio). Public officials want political cues through interest groups which are signals telling a legislator what values are at stake in a vote and how they fit into their own political views.
    • Wilson and DiIulio offer ratings by organizations as an example of political cues: for example, Libby Liberal will probably receive high ratings from the ACLU and ADA for supporting, say, legislation that upholds gay marriage.
  • Ratings are assessments of a representative's voting record on issues important to an interest group.
  • The insider strategy is when lobbyists work with a few members of Congress to exchange information and sometimes favors, its valuable but as of late interest groups have used the outsider strategy. (Wilson and Dilulio p.281)
  • Grassroots lobbying is designed to raise public pressure on government officials.
  • Lobbyists are specialists on their issues and gather factual information to present to legislators.
    • Often times, these lobbyists are giving the legislator political cues, which are signals telling him or her what values are at stake in a vote, and how the issue fits into his or her own political views on a party agenda (Wilson). In this way, legislators are able to find out what the public opinion on a an issue is, and may modify their behavior or position to fit that of the public.
  • Although they may exaggerate, lobbyists can't afford to mislead legislators.
  • Lobbyists have to look out for the confidence that politicians have on them in the long term so Wilson says that misrepresenting a politician or giving them bad advice can either embarrass an accepting politician or drive them away.
  • Lobbyists have the most affect when the issue is narrow, rather than when it is large and can easily be seen by the people as a national issue.
  • Client politics: the nature of an issue or the governmental process by which an issue is resolved gives a great advantage to the suppliers of certain info and imposes a great burden on would be suppliers of contrary info (Wilson 280).
Regulating Interest Groups
  • Since Interest group activity is a form of political speech which is protected by the First Amendment they cannot be lawfully abolished (Wilson).
  • Campaign Finance Laws made it so that there is a cap ( $5,000) on how much a group can give to campaign finances
  • The most significant way of regulating interest groups is the legal constraint that groups who lobby do not get exempt from paying taxes, which restricts their funds.
  • ' Congress in the late 1995 unanimously passed a bill that tightened up the registration and disclosure requirements...The law restates the obligation of lobbyists to register with the house and senate but it broadens the definition of a lobbyist in three ways" (Wilson 287).
  • Only a few decades ago interest groups were able to influence Congress by having lots of money
  • The law of 1973 changed this in two ways:
    • It sharply restricted the amount that any interest could give to a candidate for federal office(Wilson)
    • It made it legal for corporations and labor unions to forms PAC's that could make political contributions(Wilson)

Trouble that Interest Groups cause
  • Some interest groups use disruptive tactics to convey messages
    • NAACP has often used sit-in's and protests
  • Disruptive methods are not always the final option for interest groups and grab attention to certain topics quickly and are therefore used more often than before (Wilson)
  • Dealing with situations such as this is often tough for government officials because they do not want to lose the support of those that are using disruptive tactics and appear as insensitive to the public

Limits on Lobbying
  • Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act of 1946
    • Allow government to monitor lobbyist activities by requiring lobbyists to register and disclose salaries, expenses, and nature of their activities (Meltzer)
    • The Supreme Court upheld the law but restricted its application to lobbying efforts involving direct contacts with members of Congress (Wilson).
  • Laws against Influence Peddling, using personal friendships and inside information to get political advantage
  • prohibition of campaign contributions from corporations, unions, and trade

Under the definition of a bill Congress passed late in 1995, a lobbyist is one who fits the following definitions:
  • Spends a minimum of 20 % of their time lobbying (Wilson, 287).
  • Paid a minimum of $5,000 to lobby within any six-month period (Wilson, 287).
  • A corporation or group that spends more than $20,000 on their lobbying staffs within a six-month period (Wilson, 287).

All registered lobbyists are required to report the following twice a year:
  • "The names of their clients," (Wilson 287).
  • "Their income and expenditures," (Wilson 287).
  • "The issues on which they worked," (Wilson 287).
    • These regulations do not always extend to grassroots lobbying.

Interest Groups and PAC's
  • While common among interest groups, donations tend to be ineffective when trying to influence a politician (Benson ans Waples).
  • Labor PAC's give exclusively to Democrats.
  • Business PAC's give to both Democrats and Republicans.
  • If PAC money influences politics at all, it is usually in the area of giving the Congress members to committee actions. (Benson & Waples)
    • Congress members often boss around PAC's and tell the PAC's what they "expect" and the PAC's oblige due to fear of alienating the members (Wilson)

"Revolving door"
  • Many government officials leave their jobs and become lobbyists for private industry. Many fear this causes private industry to have a hand in government policy seeing as ex-government officials can use their old acquaintances to help their lobbying.
  • Could be an honest fear; however, studies have failed to prove that the "revolving door" is a very common malpractice among government officials.
  • Promise of future jobs to officials