Overview[ edit ] Political scientist Thomas R. Dye once said that politics is about battling over scarce governmental resources: And the battling for influence has happened in every organized society since the beginning of civilization, whether it was Ancient AthensFlorence during the time of the MediciLate Imperial Chinaor the present-day United States. If voting is a general way for a public to control a government, lobbying is a more specific, targeted effort, focused on a narrower set of issues.
Interest Groups When controversy erupted over whether to keep both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as single-sex organizations, representatives from both groups exercised a form of lobbying — they testified before Congress at hearings on the issue. So, the election is over.
How can the average American remain involved in politics without waiting for the next election? One chief means of influencing the American government is by joining an interest group — an organization that pressures elected officials to enact legislation favorable to its causes.
Types of Interest Groups Actually, there are three major types of interest groups. Animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA and environmental interest groups such as Greenpeace usually organize as public-interest groups.
These groups claim to work not for self interest but for the best interest of the public. The National Organization for Women NOW pressures Congress and other legislative bodies to adopt laws American government and lobbying measures that they feel most benefit American women.
They also work hard to get more women into elected office. Underpaid professional workers may organize as groups.
The most common type of interest group is formed around businesses, corporations, and trade associations.
Part of their reputation for power is based on the fact that American government and lobbying represent about half of all interest groups in Washington.
People who criticize interest groups for having undue power in government believe that the business groups get special privileges for people who already have more wealth and power than ordinary citizens. For example, the oil and tobacco industries each have interest groups who promote their respective interests on Capitol Hill.
They engage in lobbying, or the organized process of influencing legislation or policy. Lobbying can take many forms. Interest groups can testify in congressional hearings. For example, several years ago, when Congress was considering discrimination in private clubs, representatives of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts appeared in hearings to try to persuade Congress to allow each one to remain a single-sex organization.
Lobbyists also contact government officials directly or informally, present research results and technical information, talk with people from the press and the media, and sometimes even help to draft legislation.
Why should the politicians listen? Interest groups also actively involve themselves in political campaigns. This electioneering is intended to help elect candidates who favor their positions or to defeat those who oppose them.
It is generally conducted by political action committees PACswho serve as special political arms for the interest groups.
This chart outlines the donations of political action committees PACs that represent the tobacco industry from January to June Notice how the levels of giving fluctuate given the corresponding congressional action. The number of PACs has grown rapidly since the early s, when campaign finance reform laws were passed that restricted individual contributions to campaigns.
PACs have changed the face of American elections. They have contributors who write checks to them specifically for the purpose of campaign donations. For example, if a person wants to support candidates who oppose gun control, he or she can contribute to the PAC that represents the National Rifle Association.
The PAC, then, will make direct contributions to individual campaigns of selected candidates. Do interest groups corrupt government by "buying" influence? Critics believe that they do because more money comes from businesses and corporations than from any other source. This, they contend, gives them a connection to government that ordinary people do not have.
From another point of view, everyone is free to form and join interest groups. So many exist that there is literally a group for everyone. These multiple contacts make the American democracy stronger, because they give the opportunity for all Americans to have better access to their government.
You can also access records of how much particular industries are donating to issues and political campaigns — for instance: This website is a "priceless" resource for anyone concerned about the influence of interest groups on American politics.
Visit the NOW site to see what plans they have to help elect women to higher offices throughout the United States and bring change that matches their agenda.Lobbying Together: Interest Group Coalitions in Legislative Politics (American Government and Public Policy) by Hula, Kevin(April 2, ) Paperback on ashio-midori.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.3/5(1).
A lobbyist is an activist who seeks to persuade members of the government (like members of Congress) to enact legislation that would benefit their group.
The lobbying profession is a legitimate and integral part of our democratic political process that is not very well understood by the general population.
Lobbying. The process of influencing public and government policy at all levels: federal, state, and local. Lobbying involves the advocacy of an interest that is affected, actually or potentially, by the decisions of government leaders.
One chief means of influencing the American government is by joining an interest group — an organization that pressures elected officials to enact legislation favorable to its causes. Lobbying can take many forms.
Interest groups can testify in congressional hearings. For example, several years ago, when Congress was considering. Nevertheless, the federal government and a majority of the states regulate lobbying.
Most such laws, including the Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act (), require that lobbyists register and report contributions and expenditures and that groups whom they represent make similar reports.
What If Every Lobbying Contact Had to be Reported? 1. An advantage of requiring lobbyists to report each contact with a government official is that voters would know which lobbyists tried to influence their elected officials and it might slow down the process of .