Chapter 11 Interest Groups WHO GOVERNS? 1. Do interest groups dominate government, and is any particular lobby politically unbeatable? 2. Why do people join interest groups?
TO WHAT ENDS? 1. Is the proliferation of political action committees (PACs) and other groups good or bad for Americas representative democracy? 2. Should interest groups political activities be restricted by law? Copyright 2013 Cengage
Copyright 2013 Cengage The Rise of Interest Groups An interest group is any organization that seeks to influence public policy. The conditions that lead to the rise of interest groups are
BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters/Landov A woman holds a Tea Party sign at a rally in Concord, New Hampshire. Copyright 2013 Cengage Copyright 2013 Cengage Figure 11.1 What the Top Lobby Spent, 19982010
Source: Center for Public Integrity, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 2011. Copyright 2013 Cengage Kinds of Organizations
Institutional Interests Membership Interests W. E. B. Du Bois, scholar and activist, was one of the founders of the NAACP. C.M. Battey/Hulton Archive/Getty Images Copyright 2013 Cengage
Getting and Keeping Members Incentives to Join Solidarity Material Purposive Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group/Roll Call/Getty Images The Service Employees International Union, a large and
growing force, listens to Andy Stern, its president until 2010. Copyright 2013 Cengage Copyright 2013 Cengage Copyright 2013 Cengage The Influence of the Staff
Some members of an interest group may not care about many of the issues with which the group gets involved. What the interest group does may reflect what the staff wants than what the members believe. Copyright 2013 Cengage
Interest Groups and Social Movements The Environmental Movement The Feminist Movement The Union Movement
The Million Moms March in 2004 demanded a federal ban on assault weapons. Larry Downing/Reuters Copyright 2013 Cengage Funds for Interest Groups
Foundation Grants Federal Grants and Contracts Direct Mail Copyright 2013 Cengage Upper Class Bias?
Do interest groups reflect an upperclass bias? Those most likely to belong to a voluntary association have Higher incomes College degrees Professional or technical jobs
Copyright 2013 Cengage Upper Class Bias? Consider: Do interest groups and lobbyists always get what they want? Are business-oriented groups divided among themselves? Are there profound cleavages of opinion
among the upper class? Copyright 2013 Cengage Farmers once had great influence in Congress and could get their way with a few telephone calls. Today, they often must use mass protest methods.
JP/Laffront/Sygma/Corbis Copyright 2013 Cengage The Activities of Interest Groups
Information Earmarks Public Support Money and PACs The Revolving Door Civil Disobedience Copyright 2013 Cengage Source: Federal Election Committee, Top 50 PACs by Contributions to Candidates and Other Committees,
January 1, 2009December 31, 2009, 2010. Copyright 2013 Cengage Figure 11.2 Political Action Committees (PACs) Copyright 2013 Cengage Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group/Roll Call/Getty Images
Jack Abramoff, convicted of unethical behavior in handling lobbying claims by certain Indian tribes, is sworn in before a congressional committee investigating this. Copyright 2013 Cengage Copyright 2013 Cengage Lawsuits, such as this one against Proposition 8 which banned same sex
marriage in California, are often more effective than protest demonstrations in changing policies. Fred Prouser/Reuters/Landov Copyright 2013 Cengage Regulating Interest Groups
1946 Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act 1995 Congress unanimously passed lobbying bill Tightened registration and disclosure requirements Broadened definition of a lobbyist
Did not cover grass roots organizations Copyright 2013 Cengage Regulating Interest Groups 2007 New regulations took effect No gifts of any value from registered lobbyists or firms that employ lobbyists No reimbursements for travel costs from registered lobbyist or firms that employ
lobbyists No reimbursement for travel costs, no matter the source, if the trip is in any part organized or requested by a registered lobbyist or firm that employs lobbyists Copyright 2013 Cengage WHAT WOULD YOU DO? MEMORANDUM To: Kathleen Moore, Senate majority leader From: Christopher Franklin, chief of staff
Subject: Full federal financing of presidential campaigns Every presidential election since 1976 has been financed in part by federal funds. Now presidential candidates say they will forego public funding for the general election, given the vastly greater resources available through private fundraising. Congress needs to decide whether elections are a public investment or a political free market for citizens and candidates. Copyright 2013 Cengage WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Arguments for: 1. Legal precedents are promising. Federal matching funds already go to presidential primary candidates who have raised at least $5,000, in contributions of $250 or less, in each of twenty states. For the general election, each major party nominee already is eligible for federal funding if he or she agrees to spend no more than that amount. 2. The funding required would be small. Allocating $1 billion out of the public treasury for a presidential election every four years is hardly a fiscal drain on a nearly $2 trillion annual budget. 3. The effects would be pervasive. Candidates and party leaders
would stop covertly courting big donors with phone calls, lunches, and personal visits, and would focus instead on the needs of average citizens. Copyright 2013 Cengage WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Arguments against: 1. Constitutional precedent for requiring political candidates to accept public funds is weak. In Buckley v. Valeo (1976), the Supreme Court upheld limits on campaign contributions for candidates who accept
public money, but it also defined spending money for political purposes as expression protected by the First Amendment, thereby giving individuals the right to raise and spend as much of their own money as they choose, if they forego federal funds. 2. Campaign spending would soon spiral once again. The federal government may not restrict spending by individuals or organizations working independently from the political parties, and federal funds would merely supplement, not supplant, private fund-raising. 3. Less than 10 percent of taxpayers currently supports public financing through voluntary federal income tax checkoffs, and voters likely would view bankrolling elections as serving politicians, not the people.
Copyright 2013 Cengage WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Your decision: Support Legislation? Oppose Legislation? Copyright 2013 Cengage
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