Pressure groups USA

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  • Pressure Groups
    • Types of pressure groups
      • Institutional; Teamsters & NFU
      • Membership; Amnesty
      • Intergovernmental; National Governors' Conference
    • Functions of pressure groups
      • Provide a representative function; link between the public and the politican
      • Aid citizen participation; allow for citizens to participate between elections
      • May enhance public education; warning the public on issues such as gun control
      • Perform the function of agenda building; influence the agenda of legislators and parties to prioritse member interests i.e. China DVDs
      • Ensure accountability; hold government actions to account and ensure policies are fulfilled
    • Reasons to join a pressure group
      • Material benefits; Sierra Club and NRA both offer free magazines
      • Purposive benefits; altruistic causes which aim for the benefit of society i.e. Amnesty members tend to be middle class and stand to gain little from membership
      • Solidarity; social interaction i.e NAS
    • Methods used by pressure groups
      • Electioneering and endorsement;since 2006 all congressionalelections have cost $1 billion, only 2 of the largest 12 Pac recipients failed to win in HoR, LCV "dirty dozen"
      • Lobbying; liberal Democrats look to NAACP and ADA
      • Publicity; "issue advertising", "meat on the menu", Clinton's health care reforms
      • Organising grass roots activities; postal blitz on congress, Operation Saves America's bombing of abortion clinics
    • Impact on Congress
      • Contact members of congress especially those on relevant congressional committees
      • Groups such as the LCV publish voting records
      • Jack Abramoff spent a lot of money on staff members for example Tom Daley's chief of staff recieved 90 days of subsidised travel
    • Impact on the Executive
      • Karl Rove lobbied Christian rights groups  to convince them that Harriet Miers was a like minded conservative
      • Bush met with civil rights leaders following Katrina
    • Impact on the Judiciary
      • American Bar Association evaluates the professional qualificationsof nominees
      • Brown vs Topeka
      • Rasul vs Bush
    • Regulation of pressure groups
      • Campaign  Finance Reform
      • banning of wining and dining
      • Honest leadership and open government
      • Obama refused all donations from lobbyists in 08
    • Arguments against pressure groups
      • Revolving door syndrome; 43% of retiring congressmen become lobbyists
      • The iron triangle syndrome; relationships between Committees,departments and pressure groups
      • Inequality of groups; NRA/ Handgun Control Inc, Tobacco industry spent $67.4 m on lobbying in 97, much more than health industry
      • Direct action; often violent, OSA


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