US Pressure Groups

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Institutional pressure groups
Business & trade groups (American Business Conference, National Automobile Dealers Association). Labour unions & agriculture groups (United Auto Workers, National Farmer's Union), Professional groups (American Medical Association), Intergovernmental
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Membership pressure groups
Single-issue groups (National Rifle Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving), Ideological groups (American Conservative Union), Group rights groups (National Organization for Women), Public Interest groups (Friends of the Earth), Think-tanks
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Functions of pressure groups: Representation
Articulate grievances, important link between politicians & people / government & governed, provide access for citizens to voice opinions, pressure groups have power to influence - senator has calls on representative role; party, admin, constituents
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Functions of pressure groups: Citizen Participation
In US, political participation seen as virtue, increases opportunity to engage politically. Americans seek greater participation than the one day a year. Group may offer ability to participate in specific area: gun control, abortion, environment, war
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Functions of pressure groups: Public Educucation
Warning people of possible dangers if issues aren't addressed
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Functions of pressure groups: Agenda Building
Attempt to influence agendas of a party, legislator, bureaucrat to give priority to members' interest. May bring together various groups of society to achieve common interest
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Functions of pressure groups: Agenda Building in action (2)
Manufacturers/distributors of CDs, videos, computer software worked together to get government to pay attention to problem of piracy of such goods. Result was China promising to close down factories illegally duplicating American goods.
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Functions of pressure groups: Programme Monitoring
Scrutinise/hold govt to account, implementation of policy, ensure fulfilled, regulations enforced: the environment; lobbying from industrial groups like Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (former boss Andrew Card WH CoS 01-06) & environment groups
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Reasons for joining pressure groups: Material Benefits
"What will I/society get in return for donation?". Like subscription to magazine (Sierra/NRA), service benefits (AARP offers mail discount pharmacy, motor club, health insurance), advantageous changes to policy (benefit of members)
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Reasons for joining pressure groups: Purposive Benefits (1)
To make world/society better place. Difference between joining AARP/Amnesty International (former will be beneficial to elderly, latter will be altruistic - awareness for torture, political imprisonment, human rights violations.
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Reasons for joining pressure groups: Purposive Benefits (2)
Attract members of higher class/education. Give them a feel good factor, that they are playing part in social betterment of socity
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Reasons for joining pressure groups: Solidarity Benefits
Social benefit by interacting with like-minded people, groups centre local meetings (local chapters): If birdwatcher may join National Audubon Society, not to preserve wetlands but join local chapter (Virginia, could attend Wild-life fest)
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Methods used by pressure groups: Electioneering and Endorsement (1)
Since campaign finance reforms (1970s) changes to role of PG in political fundraising (limited $), encouraged establishment of Political Action Committees (PACs) to make donations. 2006 mid-terms, Larry Sabato found PAC spending exceeded $1b.
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Methods used by pressure groups: Electioneering and Endorsement (2)
PACs grown in number/importance since passage of McCain-Fiengold law (over 400 news PACs created in first 4 years). 2012:49% Super PAC donations received by Obama were over $1m. In House, none of 12 top recipients of PAC $ lost election (helpful).
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Methods used by pressure groups: Electioneering and Endorsement (3)
2010: biggest contributor was National Association of Realtors, gave under $3.8m to fed candidates, spent further $7m in independent expenditures. No clear link between PAC contributors/way votes cast in House/Senate - direct lobbying more effective
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Methods used by pressure groups: Electioneering and Endorsement (4)
Candidate endorsement based on stance on issues: 2012, pro-life group 'National Right to Life' endorsed Romney. Every 2 years, League of Conservative Voters publish 'dirty dozen' (12 with record of worst environmental conservation
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Methods used by pressure groups: Electioneering and Endorsement (5)
AARP 'voter guide' put questions to candidates (2008, Democrat Kissel agreed with AARP, won against incumbent 55%-45%) Buchanan, of Florida's 13th district, realised number of retiree's, decided better to stand with them than party, one 55%-37%.
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Methods used by pressure groups: Lobbying
Provision of accurate information to those who need (legislators/bureaucrats busy, limited time, need to know policy issues). Lobbyist firms offices in WDC - 'K Street Corridor', built around ex-presidential aides/cabinet officers - attract clients.
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Methods used by pressure groups: Lobbying (2)
John Ashcroft (GWB Attorney General) opened lobbying firm called 'Ashcroft group'. Provide voting cues. Liberal Democrats looks to groups like Americans for Democratic Action for reassurance taking right stand on issues
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Methods used by pressure groups: Publicity
Public relations campaigns to educate people, takes different forms: TV adverts, roadside hoardings, badgers, bumper stickers. May send DVDs to law-makers (DVD sent to Congress to tighten laws on production of veal meat called 'murder on the menu'
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Methods used by pressure groups: Organising Grassroots Activity
Most effective method, aimed directly at policy-makers. Include postal 'blitz' on Congress (phone/email. Encourage members to partake), marches, demonstrations (seen outside SC on decisions concerning issues like abortion, gun control),
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Methods used by pressure groups: Organising Grassroots Activity (2)
Violence/disorder. 1995: bombing of federal govt buildings in Oklahoma city linked to militia groups on far right, set fire to abortion clinics, intimidate staff who work there, shot doctors who carry abortions out.
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Impact of pressure groups: Environmental Protection
End of 19th century, emerged when industrialisation/'westward expansion' under way. Sierra Club formed, followed by Wilderness Society/National Wildlife Federation. Groups pushed for stricter laws on protection.
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Impact of pressure groups: Women's Rights
League of Women Voters, National Organisation for Women pushed (unsuccessfully) passage of Equal Rights Amendment to Constitution in 1970s/1980s. Remained active, campaigning for equal pay/jobs/representation (EMILY supports female candidates early)
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Impact of pressure groups: Abortion Rights
Recent debate about 'partial birth abortions' (Congress tried to ban, Clinton vetoed in 1996/1997. 2000: SC forbade states to ban this type of abortion. Debates over SC confirmation (like Samuel Alito, 2006)
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Impact of pressure groups: Gun Control
NRA (1871) one of most powerful pressure group, membership of 3 million. Influential in preventing encroachment on rights , wants to uphold 2nd Amendment (right to 'keep and bear arms')
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Impact of pressure groups: Economic Inequality
Collapse of banking sector began in latter years of GWB, rise of international Occupy movement to pressure governments to address issue of economic inequality. Seen as democratic awakening. Year later, more criticism of it than support.
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Impact of pressure groups on Congress:
Direct contact with members/their senior staff. Contact with relevant congressional committees, especially chair, power to amend legislation (two way street). Organise constituents to rally member about stance. Publicise voting records. Endorsement.
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Impact of pressure groups on Executive:
Want strong ties with relevant exec departments, agencies, regulatory commissions (notably regarding health, safety etc). Too cosy a relationship - 'watchdog'/'lapdog'?
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Impact of pressure groups on Executive: (2)
WH may 'court' PG - GWB poltical director contact Christian Right groups to reassure them that SC nomination would support their interests in court (Harriet Miers) - lobbied against her.
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Impact of pressure groups on Judiciary:
Nominations very important. Hope to influence courts by offering 'amicus curiae' (friends of the court) to present views in court before oral arguments heard - used alot in areas like abortion, racial minorities. 2008: NRA role in 'DoC v. Heller'
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Regulation of pressure groups:
1st Amendment details freedome of speech and expression: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances".
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Regulation of pressure groups: Earlier Attempts at Lobbying Reform
After 1946, Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, did Congress start to regulate activity of pressure groups. Required lobbyists to register with clerk of HoR/secretary of Senate if raised money to aid/defeat legislation, was largely ignored.
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Regulation of pressure groups: Earlier Attempts at Lobbying Reform (2)
Regulation came largely after campaign finance reform legislation - gave rise to growth of PACs. 1990's, Congress passed regulatory legislation expanded definition of PG, restriction on gifting to members/wining and dining.
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Honest Leadership and Open Government Act 2007
Democrats took control of both houses (1st time in 12 years) - enacted Sept 2007, bipartisan support (411-8/83-14), Bush said first step in reforms. Closed revolving door (senators wait 2 years before lobbying/House can't lobby former office 1 yr)
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Honest Leadership and Open Government Act 2007 (2)
Prohibits gifts, full disclosure of lobbying activity ($$), Congressional pension liability (denies members convicted of abuses pension benefits), prohibits use of private aircraft.
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Revolving door syndrome
Former members of Congress take well-paid jobs with Washinton based lobbying firms, use expertise and contacts to lobby other members of instution - argued abuse of public service. 2010 MT: 119 left Capitol Hill (31% lobbying firms, 22% clients)
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Iron Triangle
Strong relationship between pressure groups and congressional committees/government department, to benefit all 3 parties. Questions pluralist society
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Single-issue groups (National Rifle Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving), Ideological groups (American Conservative Union), Group rights groups (National Organization for Women), Public Interest groups (Friends of the Earth), Think-tanks

Back

Membership pressure groups

Card 3

Front

Articulate grievances, important link between politicians & people / government & governed, provide access for citizens to voice opinions, pressure groups have power to influence - senator has calls on representative role; party, admin, constituents

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

In US, political participation seen as virtue, increases opportunity to engage politically. Americans seek greater participation than the one day a year. Group may offer ability to participate in specific area: gun control, abortion, environment, war

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Warning people of possible dangers if issues aren't addressed

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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