Money in 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. Underpaid professional workers may organize as groups.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Dan Rather Reports, "The Best Congress Money Can Buy" Full Episode
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Interest groups and lobbying - Political participation - US government and civics - Khan AcademyContent:
5c. Interest Groups
Interest groups, comprised of members with shared knowledge, status, or goals, frequently advocate on behalf of particular political issues. Interest groups are comprised of individuals with shared knowledge, status, or goals, and in many cases these groups advocate for particular political or social issues. In the United States, interest groups are often associated with lobbying groups, who seek to influence government officials to act favorably towards them.
Interest groups, however, are not always involved in lobbying. They may not be politically active, or else they may use indirect tactics such as media campaigns, research, and public opinion polls in order to advance their cause. The Iron Triangle : In United States politics, the iron triangle comprises the policy-making relationship among the congressional committees, the bureaucracy, and interest groups.
Interest groups that are politically active with regards to one or more issues are called advocacy groups. In liberal democracies, advocacy groups tend to treat bureaucracy as their main channel of influence, because that is where the decision-making power lies. The aim of advocacy groups is to influence a member of the legislature to support their cause by voting a certain way.
Interest groups may gain influence because of their access to money. Indeed, financial resources are often critical in influencing governmental policy. In some cases, money is used directly to influence politicians — for example, a lobbyist may treat a legislator to an expensive dinner.
These instances are almost always considered corrupt, and are often outlawed as bribery. Money can also be used in more subtle ways to pressure lawmakers into voting in a particular way. For example, because they play a large role in the national economy, large corporations have an advantage in influencing lawmakers.
If these large corporations were to suddenly become less successful, it might create economic trouble, which could turn public opinion against elected officials. Thus, the wealthier a corporation is, the more political clout it tends to have. Likewise, large corporations have greater access to politicians than other groups, because corporate leaders often have insider status in powerful groups. Moreover, an interest group might also make use of financial resources in order to donate to a political campaign.
In this instance, the donation is not explicitly tied to a policy vote, and is therefore a legal contribution. That being said, the expectation is that interest groups will use their wealth to elect candidates that support their issues.
In all of these ways, interest groups use money to gain success and influence on many levels. Apart from using money to directly influence bureaucrats, interest groups may also use their wealth to launch issue campaigns. In this case, organizations try to gain popular support among American voters for a particular issue.
Ultimately, the goal of this tactic is to pressure legislators into acting a certain way in response to a perceived public mandate. Since legislators are elected, there is a strong incentive for them to vote for issues that are popular with the current public opinion. Media campaigns can be very effective at marshaling public opinion, but they are very expensive, because campaigns need to buy television and radio air time, as well as print advertisements.
Money is also required to hire and fund the professionals who will run these campaigns. Thus, interest groups with greater funds are far more likely to successfully influence policy than those groups with fewer financial resources. As organizations attempting to influence politics through public opinion, interest groups with larger memberships have an advantage over smaller ones.
Since legislators are accountable to voters, the more public support there is for an issue, the more likely it is to receive support and governmental attention. Larger interest groups necessarily have influence because of how many voters participate in them.
They are also effective because the core group membership is able to more effectively campaign on behalf of an issue than a group with a smaller membership. Additionally, larger interest groups are able to stage large demonstrations that make visible the widespread support for an issue. Interest groups often rely on leaders to organize their fundraising and make their advocacy efforts successful. Differentiate between the different kinds of leadership structures in interest groups and social movements.
The role of leadership varies based on the political orientation or goals of an interest group. Some interest groups, especially corporations, hire lobbyiststo lead their advocacy efforts.
Interest groups with organized media campaigns may be led by political strategists. In contrast, more amorphous social movements that act as interest groups may coalesce around charismatic, but often unofficial, group leaders.
When interest groups attempt to influence policymakers through lobbying, they usually rely on professional lobbyists. Lobbyists are often well-connected professionals, such as lawyers, whose role is to argue for specific legislation.
Successful lobbyists achieve insider status in legislative bodies, meaning they can talk directly to lawmakers. Recent estimates put the number of registered lobbyists in Washington, D.
Interest groups that attempt to influence policy by changing public opinion may be led by political strategists, who are often consultants familiar with public relations, advertising, and the political process. Political strategists are responsible for determining a campaign plan. The campaign plan usually involves deciding on a central message the interest group hopes to use for persuading voters to support their position.
Additionally, the strategist determines where advertisements will be placed, where grassroots organizing efforts will be focused, and how fundraising will be structured. In issue-based campaigns, successful political strategists create public awareness and support for an issue, which can then pressure legislators to act in favor of the interest group.
Interest groups may be broader than one formal organization, in which case advocacy may form a social movement. A social movement is group action aimed at social change. Social movements may have some formal hierarchy, but they are often disorganized, with funding and support coming from a range of decentralized sources.
Because of these factors, social movements do not always have a clear leader the way corporate lobbying efforts and media campaigns do. Instead, social movements may either rely on a network of local leaders, or may be led informally by a charismatic or influential participant.
For example, the Civil Rights Movement was a diffuse and widespread effort toward social change, involving many formal organizations and informal groups. Still, many consider Martin Luther King, Jr. Interest groups with a de facto leader may be more successful at sustained political advocacy than those with no clear hierarchy, because a clearly defined leader allows for more efficient organization of fundraising efforts, demonstrations, and campaigns.
That being said, social scientists often disagree when defining social movements and the most effective forms of advocacy, finding that leadership plays an ambiguous role in terms of the overall success of many interest groups.
Advocacy groups that form along ideological, ethnic, or foreign policy objectives tend to have higher levels of internal cohesion. In the social sciences a social group has been defined as two or more humans who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. Other theorists, however, are a wary of definitions which stress the importance of interdependence or objective similarity.
A social group exhibits some degree of social cohesion and is more than a simple collection or aggregate of individuals, such as people waiting at a bus stop or people waiting in a line.
Characteristics shared by members of a group may include interests, values, representations, ethnic or social background, and kinship ties. Kinship ties being a social bond based on common ancestry, marriage, or adoption. In a similar vein, some researchers consider the defining characteristic of a group as social interaction. Convention Center. Groups vary considerably in size, influence, and motive; some have wide-ranging, long-term social purposes, others are focused and are a response to an immediate issue or concern.
Motives for action may be based on a shared political, faith, moral, or commercial position. Groups use varied methods to try to achieve their aims including lobbying, media campaigns, publicity stunts, polls, research, and policy briefings.
Some groups are supported by powerful business or political interests and exert considerable influence on the political process, others have few such resources. The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee is an example of an ethnic interest group in the United States — its mission is to influence American foreign policy and maintain a robust alliance with Israel.
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within groups of people, in which the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives.
Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints. Antecedent factors, such as group cohesiveness, structural faults, and situational context, play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process.
Deindividuation is a concept in social psychology that is generally thought of as the loosening of self-awareness in groups, although this is a matter of contention. Sociologists also study the phenomenon of deindividuation, but the level of analysis is somewhat different. For the social psychologist, the level of analysis is the individual in the context of a social situation. As such, social psychologists emphasize the role of internal psychological processes.
Other social sciences, such as sociology, are more concerned with broad social, economic, political, and historical factors that influence events in a given society.
An interest group is a group of individuals who share common objectives, and whose aim is to influence policymakers. Institutional interest groups represent other organizations, with agendas that fit the needs of the organizations they serve. Examples include the American Cotton Manufacturers which represents the generally congruous southern textile mills and the U. Chamber of Commerce which represents the multitude of wants of American businesses.
Membership interest groups are organizations that represent individuals for social, business, labor, or charitable purposes in order to achieve civil or political goals. Membership includes a group of people that join an interest group and unite under one cause. Members may or may not have an opinion on some of the issues the staff pursues. Similarly, staff are the leaders. With the membership united under one cause, the staff has the ability to pursue other issues that the membership may disagree on because members will remain in the group because they are united by the primary cause.
A general theory is that individuals must be enticed with some type of benefit to join an interest group. Known as the free rider problem, it refers to the difficulty of obtaining members when the benefits are reaped without membership. For instance, an interest group dedicated to improving farming standards will fight for the general goal of improving farming for all farmers, even those who are not members of the particular interest group.
Thus, there is no real incentive to join an interest group and pay dues if the farmer will still receive that benefit even if they do not become a member. Interest groups must receive dues and contributions from members in order to accomplish their agendas.
While every individual in the world would benefit from a cleaner environment, an environmental protection interest group does not, in turn, receive financial help from every individual in the world. Selective material benefits are sometimes given in order to address the free rider problem. Interest groups give material benefits like travel discounts, free meals at certain restaurants, or free subscriptions to magazines, newspapers, or journals. Many trade and professional interest groups give these benefits to members.
A selective solidary benefit is another type of benefit offered to members of an interest group. These incentives involve benefits like socializing, congeniality, the sense of group membership and identification, the status resulting from membership, fun and conviviality, the maintenance of social distinctions, and so on.
Do special interest groups hurt candidates?
When you've got a group of people who share similar ideas, you've got yourself a special interest group. And when everyone in your group works together to persuade politicians to legislate in your group's best interests, you've got power. Lobbyists are people who meet with legislators on behalf of the people who pay them.
While wealthy donors, corporations, and special interest groups have long had an outsized influence in elections, that sway has dramatically expanded since the Citizens United decision, with negative repercussions for American democracy and the fight against political corruption. A majority of the Supreme Court sided with Citizens United, ruling that corporations and other outside groups can spend unlimited money on elections. The ruling has ushered in massive increases in political spending from outside groups, dramatically expanding the already outsized political influence of wealthy donors, corporations, and special interest groups. A Brennan Center report by Daniel I. In other words, super PACs are not bound by spending limits on what they can collect or spend.
Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting
The problem: Many wealthy special interest groups are able to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections without having to disclose their donors to voters. Everyone has a right to know who is trying to influence our views and our representatives. Through a number of Supreme Court decisions and loopholes in campaign finance laws, some nonprofit organizations and corporations have found ways to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in our elections without the public knowing who is behind the spending. There are few disclosure requirements for many of these organizations. The Supreme Court has long upheld laws requiring transparency in political spending despite other rulings that have undermined various other campaign finance laws. Transparency is key to an informed citizenry. Without strong money in politics disclosure laws, voters are denied their right to know who is trying to influence their votes. Disclosure is a common sense, bipartisan solution that stops backroom deals and ensures everyone knows when money is changing hands.
Americans rail against so-called special interests but at the same time many members of society are themselves represented in one form or another by organized groups trying to affect the policymaking progress. This concise but thorough text demonstrates that interest groups are involved in the political system at all levels of government — federal, state, and local — and in all aspects of political activity, from election campaigns to agenda setting to lawmaking to policy implementation. Rather than an anomaly or distortion of the political system, it is a normal and healthy function of a pluralist society and democratic governance. Nonetheless, Nownes warns of the dangers of unwatched interest group activity, especially in the realms of the electoral process and issue advocacy.
Account Options Sign in. Conseguir libro impreso. David B. What do you do if you're running for office and all of a sudden, a flood of campaign attack ads inundates you from sources unknown, unregulated, and with seemingly unlimited funding?
How Campaign Contributions and Lobbying Can Lead to Inefficient Economic Policy
The two studies in Interest Groups and Elections in Canada explore the nature and influence of special interest groups. They consider different aspects of the question, "In the context of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms , how can the laws intended to secure a fair electoral process be reconciled with freedom of expression? Janet Hiebert reviews the limits on interest groups adopted in and amended in , profiles the groups involved int he federal election, and discusses relevant legislation and jurisprudence in the provinces and abroad. She concludes that spending limits for parties and candidates will only be effective if there are also restrictions on independent expenditures during elections by groups and individuals.
We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. This essay develops a simple model to analyze the impact of campaign contributions on electoral-policy decisions of candidates for office. Interest groups here are firms that select contributions under the assumption that candidates' policies and opposing groups' donations remain unaltered. Candidates, however, recognize that their policy choices affect contributions.
Interest groups, comprised of members with shared knowledge, status, or goals, frequently advocate on behalf of particular political issues. Interest groups are comprised of individuals with shared knowledge, status, or goals, and in many cases these groups advocate for particular political or social issues. In the United States, interest groups are often associated with lobbying groups, who seek to influence government officials to act favorably towards them. Interest groups, however, are not always involved in lobbying. They may not be politically active, or else they may use indirect tactics such as media campaigns, research, and public opinion polls in order to advance their cause.
Interest groups influence every government around the world, but what exactly are they, and how do they go about their work? This compilation of the major research, literature, and possible future directions of the study of interest groups is an excellent introductory resource for scholars and students in political science and related fields. Thoroughly cross-referenced and thematically organized, more than entries detail the main topics of interest group activity in the United States and around the world. Following an introductory chapter that explains the format and content of the book, and a review of the development of interest group research, the entries are organized into 14 distinct chapters, each of which focuses on an area of significant research on various facets of group activity. A number of chapters deal with how interest groups form, dissolve, and work.