Interest groups exist to make demands on thegovernment and usually deal with ideological, publicinterest, foreign policy, government itself, as well asethnic, religious, and racial issues and groups
Interest group- A collection of people who share a common interest or attitudeand seek to influence government for specific ends. Interest groups usuallywork within the framework of government and try to achieve their goals throughtactics such as lobbying.The American Medical Association and the United States Chamber ofCommerce are examples of interest groups.
Political parties and interest groups are different:a. Political parties aim to attain or maintain power, howeverinterest groups do not have such an aim, instead they aim toinfluence decision making and the politicians.b. Second, parties blend various demands, not just supportparticular ones because they have to appeal to more people,however interest groups focus upon particular issues.
Interest groups reach out to the public for these reasons:1. To supply information in support of the group’s interests2. To build a positive image for the group3. To promote a particular public policy
Because of the many different opinions and interests ofAmericans, interest groups are made in order to advocatefor their special issue.
Interest group power can be affected by size, resources,cohesiveness, leadership, and techniques
pluralism-A theory of government that holds that open, multiple, and competinggroups can check the asserted power by any one group.Using multiple factions to check the power of other factions is one example ofpluralism.
Single-Issue Group - A group that is involved in political campaigningon one essential policy area or idea.An example of a Single-Issue Group is the Greedy 40% Extra groupthat protested against politician wage increase.
Tactics of interest groups:1. Control of information and expertise. Ex. Oil corporations knowabout oil business than anybody else.2. Electoral activity: Especially for groups with large number ofmembers to vote or raise money for certain candidates.3. Use of economic power: M. Luther King managed to organize aboycott of the city bus system of Montgomery, Alabama.4. Public information campaigns: using media to enlighten themasses about an issue.5. Violence and disruption: Ex. separatist groups.6. Litigation: Ex. to file court cases. Amicus Curiae brief
Litigation - civil action brought before a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have received damages from a defendants actions, seeks a legal or equitable remedy. Litigation and lawsuits can be used interchangeably. and lawsuits can be used interchangeably.Amicus curiae brief- Literally, a "friend of the court"brief, filed by an individual or organization to presentarguments in addition to those presented by theimmediate parties to a case. The Amicus Curiae brief is a way to reveal a individualgroup by presenting its arguments.
Some problems regarding interest groups:a. Not all interest groups are equally well organized. For instance, producer interests arealways easier to organize than consumer interests.b. Some groups command a disproportionate voice in the interest group system becausethey have special advantages. Thus they sway politicians into their own interests at theexpense of the whole country.c. Most interest groups are not organized democratically.The side benefits of joining any interest group are called selective incentives.Free rider problem: members try to get the benefits without contributing .
Free rider- An individual who does not join a group representing his or herinterests yet receives the benefit of the groups influence.
Federal Register- An official document, published everyweekday, which lists the new and proposed regulations ofexecutive departments and regulatory agencies. Changes in the Federal Register for good for theirrespective interest groups is what interest groups want.
lobbyist- A person who is employed by and acts for anorganized interest group or corporation to try to influencepolicy decisions and positions in the executive andlegislative branches. The lobbyist tries to gain attention and interest of politicalofficers to vie for their interest groups.
lobbying- Engaging in activities aimed at influencing public officials, especiallylegislators, and the policies they enact. Lobbyists are lobbying when they try to coerce government officials to supporttheir cause.
Revolving door- Employment cycle in which individuals who work forgovernmental agencies that regulate interests eventually end up working forinterest groups of businesses with the same policy concern. Members of government agencies that favor the topic go through the revolvingdoor if they join an interest group dealing with the topic.
issue network- Relationships among interest groups, congressionalcommittees and subcommittees, and the government agencies that share acommon policy concern. The issue network is a large interest group made up of smaller interestgroups, if they share similar concerns.
political action committee (PAC)- The political aim of an interest group that islegally entitled to raise funds on a voluntary basis from members, stockholders,or employees to contribute funds to candidates or political parties. PACS are very influential in the elections, as they are the primary funders forpolitical candidates.
leadership PAC- A PAC formed by an office holder that collects contributionsfrom individuals and other PACs and then makes contributions to othercandidates and political parties.Leadership PACS are like individual PACS, except that more committees areinvolved and an office-held PAC serves as a middle man.bundling- A tactic in which PACs collect contributions from like-minded individuals (each limited to $2,000) and present them toa candidate or political party as a "bundle," thus increasing thePACs influence.By one PAC collecting more money from its contributors bybundling, the political candidates can see more influence in thehigher paying PAC.
Iron Triangle - the policymaking relationship among thecongressional committees, bureaucracies, and interestgroups.The iron triangle is the main policymaking institution inAmerican politics.