Interest groups


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Interest groups

  1. 1. AP Government Interest Groups
  2. 2. A Nation of Interests Interest Groups A collection of people who share some common interest or attitude and seek to influence government for specific ends. Interest groups usually work within the framework of government and employ tactics such as lobbying to achieve their goals. Movement A large body of people interested in a common issue, idea, or concern that is of continuing significance and who are willing to take action. Movements seek to change attitudes or institutions, not just politics.
  3. 3. The Politics of Influence • The 2004 presidential election featured ads by interest groups • Swift Boat Veterans for Truth • Video One • Video Two • MoveOn • The Media Fund • Known as “527s” due to their classification in the IRS tax code • Able to raise/spend unlimited amounts of money as long as the expenditures were independent of the candidates/parties
  4. 4. Interest Groups Past and Present: The “Mischiefs of Faction” • Faction: A term the founders used to refer to political parties and special interests or interest groups (Federalist Papers) • Madison believed that factions were “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” • He argued that “the causes of faction cannot be removed, and…relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.” • Pluralism: A theory of government that holds that open, multiple, and competing groups can check the asserted power by any one group (Interest Groups)
  5. 5. Types of Interest Groups: Economic Interest Groups • Business • Trade and other associations • Labor • Professional associations
  6. 6. Union Membership in the United States Compared to Other Countries
  7. 7. Labor Force and Union Membership, 1930-2007 What has happened to their political influence?
  8. 8. Labor • Open shop: A company with a labor agreement under which union membership cannot be required as a condition of employment • Closed shop: A company with a labor agreement under which union membership can be a condition of employment • Free rider: An individual who does not join a group representing his or her interests, yet receives the benefit of the group’s influence
  9. 9. Types of Interest Groups: Ideological or Single-Interest Groups -Christian Coalition -NRA -NARAL -Club for Growth
  10. 10. Types of Interest Groups: Public Interest Groups • Unsafe at Any Speed • (1965) Led to seatbelt laws • Founded Public Citizen; “Nader’s Raiders” • Ran for president as Green Party candidate in 1996 and 2000, and as independent in 2004 and 2008 Ralph Nader
  11. 11. Types of Interest Groups: Foreign Policy and Public Sector Interest Groups 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
  12. 12. Interest Groups: Cohesiveness Types of members in an organization Small number of formal members People intensely involved with the group People who are members in name only
  13. 13. Interest Groups: Techniques for Exerting Influence Publicity, Mass Media, Internet Direct Contact with Government Litigation Campaign Contributions Forming a Political Party Cooperative Lobbying Mass Mailing
  14. 14. Who are the Lobbyists? • Lobbyist: A person who is employed by and acts for an organized interest group or corporation to try to influence policy decisions and positions in the executive and legislative branches • Revolving door: An employment cycle in which individuals who work for government agencies that regulate interests eventually end up working for interest groups or businesses with the same policy concern (what problem does this create?)
  15. 15. Who are the Lobbyists? The Iron Triangle Interest groups Members of Congress Bureaucratic leaders and experts Issue network: Relationships among interest groups, congressional committees and subcommittees, and the government agencies that share a common concern
  16. 16. Money and Politics PAC 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 funds to favored candidates or political parties Soft Money Money raised in unlimited amounts by political parties for party-building purposes Hard Money Political contributions given to a party, candidate, or interest group that are limited in amount and fully disclosed
  17. 17. Money and Politics • Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2002) • Largely banned party soft money; restored long- standing prohibition on corporations and labor unions for using general treasury funds for electoral purposes • Narrowed the definition of issue advocacy Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz)., second left, and Sen. Russ Feingold (D- Wisc) smile during a news conference following the signing of the BCRA
  18. 18. Total PAC Contributionsto Federal Candidates, 1975-2006 (in Millions)
  19. 19. PACs that Gave the Most to Federal Candidates, 2000-2006 (Millions of Dollars)
  20. 20. How PACs and Others Allocated Campaign Contributionsto House Candidates,2005-2006
  21. 21. • January 2010: Supreme Court—the law violates Amendment I Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission