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AND POLITICAL FUNDING (pp. 333-359 and 21-26, 324-328, 364)


I.    Definition:  an interest group (or pressure group or non-governmental organization) is an organization that

      seeks to influence what government does and does not do so that members of the groups will benefit / p. 334


       KEY IDEA:  People are often angry at benefits others receive from government; they give less attention to the

       benefits they receive.


II.   Bases of interest group formation

       A.  Economic/occupational concerns (including employers, employees professionals, farmers, corporations,   

             recipients of  public assistance)

       B.  Racial/ethnic/religious/gender/age concerns / p. 355 [top]

       C.  Concerns of other particular groups (including students, veterans, gun  owners, residents of a particular

             neighborhood, region or  state, government entities or officials) / p. 340 [top

       D.  Moral/legal concerns or ideas of improving life in the U.S. /  p. 357F

       E.  Foreign policy concerns/foreign governments


III.  Factors encouraging the formation of interest groups in the U.S. /  pp. 336-337

       A.  Tradition of non-governmental cooperation through  voluntary association (described by                            

             Alexis de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America in the 1830’s)

       B.  Increasing specialization of post-industrial U.S. society  /  pp. 336, 341

       C.  Weak, uncohesive, and undisciplined major parties that seek to appeal to people of many interests /

              pp. 276, 300, 336

       D.  Operation of  three branches of government (created by the principal of separation of powers) /

             pp. 341, 355 and  60F, 265. 838

       E.  Operation of  two levels of government (federal system created by principle of federalism) / 340, 341, 602

       F.  Operation of over 80,000 local governments / pp. 66-67, 340 [top]


       KEY IDEA:  interest groups may seek to influence decisions by the legislative, executive, and judicial branches at the national, state and local levels of government as well as influence the major political parties and public opinion in general / pages 339F, 838.  Bribery is illegal at all levels, S101, S104


IV. Methods/techniques of lobbying

      A.  Contacting public officials:  in person, by telephone, fax, e-mail, postcard, and letter

      B.  Contributing:  funds, loans, equipment, publicity, volunteers

      C.  Gaining office through election or appointment (overlapping membership /  pp.  335, 344)

      D.  Publicizing interest group views by influencing party platforms and  molding public opinion / 339F

      E.  Promoting social  movements -- joining with groups and individuals  sharing goals to engage mass

           mobilization, protest, demonstration, and other forms of direct action and civil disobedience

                1.  Anti-slavery movement                                                     5.  Labor movement, p. 398, LAT 9-6-99, A1

                2.  Farmers/populist movements                                            6.  Civil rights movement / pp. 109, 246, 255, 398

                3.  Women’s movements (suffragist and feminist) 7.  Environmental movement / pp. 357F

                4.  Pro-life movement and pro-choice movement / pp. 99, l00F, 101 [state requirement of parent consent for

                    a minor], 115, 140, 150F [veto/veto override]  198, 211- 212, 226, 234, 260, 262, 265, 266, 278-280  

                    [party loyalty], 281F [party platforms], 328, 378


V.  Forms of direct action sometimes used by interest groups alone and as part of coalitions in social movements/

     protest, p. 398, center (also http://cep.org/protest.html)

     A.  Demonstration/rally/march/protest/mass mobilization

     B.  Picketing/boycott/strike

     C.  Civil disobedience (e.g. tax resistance, freedom ride, sit-in)

           1.  Direct:  violating the law considered illegal or unjust

           2.  Indirect:  violating a law to call attention to an injustice


TERMS:  lobby [noun and verb] S84, S98; lobbyist/organizer / pp. 342-345, S107; labor union; union, caucus, conference, congress, association;  political action committee (PAC) / pp. 321F, 325F, 326F, 324-328, 337#5, 350F, 358; S102#6, S105, *S106; hard money; soft money;  public interest research group (PIRG) /pp. 25F and 337#8; amicus curiae / pp. 355 and 265 [top]referring to the N.A.A.C.P. and A.C.L.U.; pluralist view that “organization begets counter-organization;”“revolving door” government service and employment by a group that lobbies the gov’t