Special Interest Groups
an organization that tries to influence public opinion
“web of cooperative relationships between citizens that facilitates resolution of collective action problems”
*Democracy in America*
Robert Putnam“small scale
associations create a civic virtue for the public good” they are healthy
for social and economic growth
David B. Truman’s
Disturbance theory on interest groups is that they form in part to counteract the efforts of other groups
– NOW or the Christian Coalition actually deal with many issues (related areas)
– Army of God are single issue groups dealing with a specific area
Economic interest groups
promote the financial interests of its members
Public interest groups
an agenda that does not financially benefit the members of the group.
Special Interest in America
Do you think that special interest groups can become institutionalized ?
the Lowi article to support or refute
Do "pressure groups" really have an upper-class bias?
The Semi-sovereign People
Do Americans agree on anything?
Free rider problem
the public benefits from the work of a few concerned citizens.
at the nation's borders
*Do the needs of the many really outweigh the needs of the few?
as a means of protest has been very much part of US
attempts) are violent ways of undoing an election.
The Town Meeting
and special interest
* Great on the local levels
scene - a tough call!
Ross Perot very good at it
Clinton v Dole
Bush v Gore
2004 Bush v Kerry?
opinions can cause disorganization and confusion
The French Revolution
perfect example of chaos
Weimar Government - Germany
during the 1920s-30s
example of inefficiency)
Essays in the Public Philosophy
people can elect the government, they can remove it...they can approve or disapprove of its performance. But they cannot administer
the government. They cannot themselves perform....
"A mass cannot govern"
is a fraud.....the only good and decisive government is a dictatorship.
On Governing America- 3 ideas
The Power Elite--->Establishment
3. Robert A. Dahl
--------> the agenda
All Influence government
knew their Congressman
knew both names of Senators
1992 Presidential Election
mil Americans could vote
mil Americans registered
104 mil Americans voted- 55%
Election approximately 52%
about 1/2 of the US population votes
2004 Election – 58%
Power organizations can mount
campaigns in Congress to promote or overturn legislation.
Contributions, and they are perfectly legal
a former White House Staff person as a Lobbyist)
Bronx Congressman Mario Biaggi
House Staff - Dept Defense
Wedtech - Naval Contracts Co.
seek to influence officials of the legislative and executive branches, regulatory agencies and even the courts.
get to know the people responsible for making decisions
Medical Association AMA
297, 000 Doctors
AMAPAC - contributed 2.4 mil
to congressional candidates in opposition of
National Health Plan
Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition can and will support candidates with money
groups that represent specific industries
Political Clout in the DC area
lawyers set up shop in the DC vicinity.
priced advice and high power representation
Michael Carvin 74’
Unsafe at any Speed
Congress Watch, consumerism
*Critical Mass Energy
*Health Research Group
improved medical care
Study of Responsive Law
reviewing Nader organizations
seeks info from govt
*Center for Auto Safety
*Public Interest Research Groups
student public interest groups
Organized opposition for suits
support a candidate and can make a difference in an election
They care only
about their agenda
Political Action Committee
campaigns for and against elected
"Target 80" - the Reagan Sweep
politics, Money = Success
Buckley v Valeo (1976)
Court ruled placing limits on support was unconstitutional
is PAC money used in an election?
$5,000 limit to candidate
limit to the amount of PACS able to contribute a prospective
* unlimited pre-campaign money
PAC money is "interested money"
give money to committee chairman with specific legislative outcomes in mind
-active in elections
*First National Bank of Boston
v Bellotti (1978)
Court struck down a Mass Law
prohibited corporations from funding a public referenda
Werthheimer in 1979 wrote
Of Mountains: The PAC Movement in American Politics
contributions follow an "investment pattern" aimed at long-term influence with members of Congress
How do you control it?
Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act
(not very effective)
- General Accounting Office
Reform Act 2002)
to register if they spent much of their time lobbying
allowed many activities
Interest Groups do have value
* through collective bargaining
Theodore J. Lowi
interests may result in an impotent government
E. E. Schattschneider
of the people cannot get into the pressure system
McCain – 2000)