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POLI330N Week 4: Political Parties and Interest Groups

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This is a graded discussion: 20 points possible

WEEK 4: POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS
We continually hear about interest groups in the news. Understanding this, what is the relationship between interest groups and government? How does this apply to government-created interest groups? In addition, what are the effects of bureaucrats as interest groups? Do you believe this crossover between bureaucrats and interest groups to be right? Please be sure to provide specific examples in your response.
Good morning Professor and Class,

Interest groups can be described as a collection of “like-minded individuals” who spend time fundraising, organizing and lobbying to create an impact on democracy.  (Roskin, p.156).  They have influence on specific programs and issues but maintain their impact outside of the electoral process as they maintain no accountability to the public for the influence they apply, or intend to apply.  Interest groups differ from government in that they are independent of political party and merely try to persuade voters on their own time, dime and agenda toward change without the direct involvement of political candidates.  Because there are opposing views between interest groups on issues and programs, one group is prevented from dominating the political system backed by strongly guided interest groups.

When discussing government-created interest groups, the specific mortgage programs created by Congress including Fannie-Mae and Freddie-Mac to privately manage mortgages, are a prime example.  The agendas behind these two corporate giants were to promote home purchases, have the program purchase the mortgage from the bank, redraft the loan and sell it again as something perceived as better.  Taxpayer money funded the interest groups because they were believed to be so durable and powerful; however, the risks taken by the government to fund the groups outweighed the reality and the difficulties this led taxpayers in to.

To address bureaucracies as interest groups differ from government created interest groups in that bureaucracies create interests of their own.  They have louder opinions with stronger demands and higher expectations.  I don’t agree with that style of presentation; it comes off as a bullying type of influence that would recruit more followers into its group than actual believers.  Specifically, when it comes to policy administration, bureaucrats tend to know more about the management of policies enacted by the President and Congress.  Because they have more intricate knowledge, they hold the expertise which leads to more influential power to the higher government officials.

Dana

Is it fair to say that some interest groups can evolve into bureaucracies? I feel as if a group grows large enough and gains enough supporters, or even gains well known sponsors with a lot of power, they could then turn into a bureaucracy. I also feel as if there are many interest groups whose main goal is not only to try to get action regarding a certain policy, but instead is to gain so much power to where they could be looked at as a bureaucracy. At that point these interest groups would then be able to dominate any other opinions regarding a policy at hand. It then comes to the point in which is what they doing lawful? Are their certain laws that these interest groups must abide so they do not become to powerful? Just some interesting questions I am curious to see what others things about.
Dana and Marissa,

I can see what your saying. It seems that bureaucracies are created from interest groups that grow large enough that they become powerful enough to influence policy without much resistance. These groups then can “bully” their way into achieving government policy they are desiring. As far as being lawful, I am not sure. I would think there should be laws pertaining to how much power an interest group or bureaucracy can obtain. Also, I would imagine there should be laws restricting what they can and cannot do when it comes to “bullying” their way into the government official’s opinions and votes. Great observations. I will be looking into the laws regarding interest groups and bureaucracies. I am definitely interested because it makes me wonder what laws and policies have been set in place only because an interest group pushed their agenda when the policy really doesn’t have any standing. They just didn’t have enough of the opposing opinion to keep it from being set in place.

Leona

Hey Leona, Great Post! I’m really not a “politics” type of person. I do my part and vote, that’s about it. Until this class, I didn’t think about the parties and the people that occupy them. When you spoke about the bureaucrats, I disagree with them using excessive force and money to have their way. I believe this is one reason politics have gotten so dishonest and sneaky. You used the term “Bully” I can’t agree with you more! We have freedom of speech for a reason and I don’t think it should be exploited behind money and power. The government often wonder why the support of the people has fallen. It’s because the people see how shady the politicians and the people they deal with are, and they want nothing to do with it. I also agree with you when you say there should be laws against how much force they can use! It is getting ridiculous with the politics. Great Post!

Aesha,

There is so much corruption in the government because of bureaucrats that many of the general public has lost trust in our representatives. How can we know that what they say in their campaign is going to be what they actually vote for when it comes up in Congress? Who holds them accountable? The public has lost it’s power to hold our representatives accountable unless they are a part of a large interest group that can sway the representative’s vote with money or some other coercion tactic. I feel like many people now do not give much attention to what is going on in Congress just because we no longer have a voice. That is where I am at. I am like you. I have never really had much interest in politics. In taking this class, I have learned about government and politics, but how can I change anything as one person if I do not agree with something? Especially if I am the minority in my way of thinking? Interest groups are good, but it takes a lot of time, money, and dedication to grow an interest group large enough to make any kind of difference. Great post! I agree will your points!

Leona

I enjoyed reading through all of your posts  and couldn’t agree with you more.  I too have lost faith in the government because of the corruption.  It seems private agenda, money and greed take precedent over what would truly be best for everyone in this country.  However, I do feel it is important to remain informed and take part.  If we all just turn away and noone is fighting anymore than I think that is when we really get in trouble.

Christina

Me either, I vote to do my part but I am always weary about the whole voting process.  With all of the media putting their two cents in makes me wonder.  I believe that our government is corrupted and there are others in the shadows leading our country.
Dana,

Interesting posts and questions.  I agree with your thought that yes groups can turn into bureaucracies.  In addition, bureaucracies can influence interest groups to gain their control.  Roskin (2013) notes that bureaucracies, ” See their tasks as terribly important and demand bigger budgets and more employees every year” (p.159).

Michelle

References:

Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., James A. Medeiros, Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781269724821/

Hello Professor and classmates! I first want to give the definition of an interest group. According to Roskin it is, “an association that pressures government for policies it favors” (10/2013, p. 316). I’ll be honest that I did not know what an interest group was until now. The relationship between interest groups and government are that interest groups attempt to influence politics and government by contributing and donating large amounts of funds to like-minded political parties and campaigns with hopes of influencing particular policies or implementing broad changes. This applies to government-created interest groups in that, “This circular flow is common: Congress creates a program, the program creates an interest group, and then the interest group works on Congress to keep supporting it” (Roskin, 10/2013, p. 159). Some examples of government created interest groups were the Federal National Mortgage Association, also known as Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, also known as Freddie Mac. The effects of bureaucrats as interest groups are that they not only help to implement laws but they have influence in the creating and direction of those laws. An example of this is Japan’s powerful bureaucrats from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry consistently instruct Japan’s national legislature what to legislate. I feel that for the right reasons that the crossover between bureaucrats and interest groups to be right. I feel that there is a fine line though between trying to control government and policies and simply trying to influence them. This is the fine line that we seem to be dabbling with.

Reference:

Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/books/9781269724821

Hey Kandice, great post! Im like you, it wasn’t too long ago I learned about interest groups. When I learned about them, it was in a negative light. I was told these interest groups were set into place to make the government “do what they wanted them to do”. I didn’t agree with that at all. To make it even worse i learned they raised large amounts of money to fund whatever they wanted. I didn’t understand then but I now know this is how the government is run! I hate it because I feel like it’s a “Bully” system. I don’t agree with it at all, but its being allowed. This was an informative and a great post!
 Hi Aesha! Thank you for the feedback! I was very perplexed when I read Roskins’ definition of an interest group. I mean to use the word “pressure” establishes a negative connotation behind something. I read it a couple of times to make sure I was reading it correctly! It’s surprising they wouldn’t state that these groups influence the government or guide the government to their decisions. Besides that though, after looking more into some of the interest groups I didn’t feel that some of them were so bad after all. Some of them include the American Civil Liberties Union, AARP, the National Organization for Women and the NRA. I feel that many of these groups do benefit us in many positive ways, however, they should in no way “pressure” the government but influence them.
Kandice,

Great post and I agree that this fine line between control and influence is a real issue and believe always will be.  Often when people are trying to gain control of themselves, they do so by trying to control others, one could argue this same concept can be applied to politics and political parties.

Many influential leaders over the years have had absolutely no control over people, yet their influence was historic as in Ghandi or Martin Luther King.  They are great examples on how balancing control and influence yield positive outcomes.

Michelle

Greetings Kandice,

 Its funny that even in politics its just a popularity contest and it seems to me that is exactly where interests develops from these second tier agendas. These groups specifically businesses such as Freddie Mac raise large lump sums of money to gain acknowledgment and then push out the smaller groups to give emphasis to their platform and premise. Its interesting because it seems the larger the interest group the more consideration is given to their agenda regardless of whats going in the world like the need for stricter gun control to groups such as the NRA.

Interest groups, lobbyists, political parties and their influence on the political process.

The genesis of an interest group is to provide a single or unified voice to a collective group of persons or organizations that share a common interest or goal. Examples include:

NRA – National Rifle Association
NEA – National Educators’ Association
ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union
NAACP – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

A comprehensive listing of registered public interest groups is located here:

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/gov_relations/oirpublicinterestgroups

Given this background, let’s discuss the questions I noted above and also below:

What is the relationship between interest groups and government?

How does this apply to government-created interest groups?

In addition, what are the effects of bureaucrats as interest groups?

Do you believe this crossover between bureaucrats and interest groups to be right?

Please be sure to provide specific examples in your response.

What is the relationship between interest groups and government?

Interest groups and government have a close relationship as they both try to influence policies that benefit their interest. Several interest groups were created from government programs that want continued funding from the government such as farming, education, mortgages. The groups continue to lobby the government for funds as this is their primary source of revenue to keep people employed.

Do you believe this crossover between bureaucrats and interest groups to be right?

I believe the crossover of the two groups to be right since the interest groups try to keep ideas of the people they represent in the minds of the politicians. Without these groups education, farming, gun rights, civil rights could be lost because it’s not what the politicians want. The biggest risk between the two groups are when the interest groups fail at their cause as in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that had to receive large amounts of federal funding to no collapse but the they passed it on to the taxpayers that bailed them out. The AFL-CIO is another group that has had a large influence on government policies that affect economy and helped improve working conditions.

Reference:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

  Hi Travis! I did not know about the AFL-CIO until I researched it, after seeing you mention it in your post. That is an amazing organization! All of us are influenced by the work they have done. After looking at the work that they have done, it deeply impacts all of our daily lives because we all work. According to their website, they “strive to ensure all working people are treated fairly, with decent paychecks and benefits, safe jobs, dignity, and equal opportunities.” That is a very important and noble aspect of how they have helped our population. They are affiliated with several unions and strive to have people join together and form unions as well. I myself am part of a union and couldn’t imagine being without one anymore. They are there for our benefit to aid and fight for fairness in wages, benefits, and treatment.

Reference:

About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2017, from https://aflcio.org/about

Travis,

I agree with you on the interest group’s influence on government. Also i want to add that bureaucrats and interest groups interact because they need resources from each other in order to perform
their tasks. Those resource exchanges are determined by both the importance of the individual resources and the extent to which these resources are concentrated in the environment. Thus, by measuring both resource importance and resource concentration, we should be able to establish a degree of dependence that, in turn, characterize relationship between interest group and civil servants for example.

Hi Travis!

I enjoyed reading your post.  Like Kandice, I had no idea what the AFL-CIO is, but what a great interest group it seems to be.  AFL-CIO is abbreviated for The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, who, on their website, have an entire section titled “What We Care About”.  Under this heading is a list of 16 main areas of focus that range from better pay and benefits, to civil rights, to immigration and labor laws.  Also on their website, they are affiliated with 56 unions, which shows they have a great interest in equality and rights of all worker’s, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, or gender identification.  The constituency group is described as “…a diverse and inclusive family of working people. We advocate for all workers. Our constituency groups address the challenges that workers from diverse backgrounds face. These groups reach out to the communities they serve, build solidarity, help out with organizing efforts and ensure full participation in our movement” (AFL-CIO.org).

Thank you for introducing this organization to me.  I’ve really enjoyed reading up on what they do and who they are. We need more interest groups like this!

References:

https://aflcio.org/

Travis

As long as we have groups such as the AFL-CIO where we can share in the influences on government labor policies as you posted as well as any time our economy and working conditions are improved we are provided with a better quality of life. I appreciate your providing us with this info. AFI-CIO continue to improve fairness to the workplace thereby securing a fair social and equity for us.

www.afl-cio (Links to an external site.).

Damaris

Professor Terwilliger and Class,

What is the relationship between interest groups and government?

Interest groups and government are an integral part of our political system. Although most interest groups are private entities, not directly accountable to the government, they try to influence parties or politicians in order to further their cause. This may appear to be counter- productive in a Democracy, but as Roskin (2013) points out, in highly pluralistic governments, interest group activity is acceptable and desirable and lobbying is normal for a healthy Democracy. Interest groups do perform the important function of highlighting to leaders and to the general public the needs of the constituency from which they are formed. This allows interest groups to highlight a need or a cause to a larger audience, including elected officials who have the power to make change. Fortunately, safeguards are in place to prevent lobbying from becoming blatant bribery. The cash that flows toward parties and campaigns may appear to look like interest groups are trying to “buy the vote”, but as long as laws are followed, interest groups, even super-PACS, can give money and influence politics and politicians. It’s all about influence and money talks.

How does this apply to government-created interest groups?

Government created interest groups like Freddie Mae or Freddie Mac, once government owned, now privatized, reflects a truth about government funding and lobbying. Once the government creates a program, the program forms and interest group, then the interest group lobbies congress to continue its funding (Roskin 2013). But this is true for any taxpayer funded program, whether it was government created or not.

In addition, what are the effects of bureaucrats as interest groups?

In essence, Bureaucracies have become interest groups. Specialized agencies within the government, like the Civil Service, originate legislation and testify before congress the need for continued or increased funding. This is a case where the interest group is not a private entity, but rather a government entity. However, for self- preservation and for growth, these bureaucracies have adopted the skills and tactics used by private interest groups to ensure funding and to remain relevant. Nobody wants to be obsolete, or unemployed, especially government workers.

Do you believe this crossover between bureaucrats and interest groups to be right?

I have no problem with the crossover between the two. I think it’s more a blending of the two, rather than a true crossover. Entities, both bureaucratic and private need funding. As long as the lobbying does not lead to corruption, it’s actually a good thing. Lobbying reflects the wants and desires of the people. We are all represented by both bureaucratic departments and special interest groups in Washington. Both serve our needs. Lobbying is often the leverage of the people to get government to take action to solve an issue. Lobbying, in its most basic form, is free speech, whether it’s a bureaucracy testifying before congress or a special interest group meeting with elected officials or providing campaign cash, it’s all about speaking your mind to promote your position.

Thank You,

Gordon

Reference:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

Isn’t the very nature of an interest group or lobbyist to be biased toward the cause they advocate? Isn’t it the politicians’ job to make impartial decisions, i.e., decisions that serve their constituents, not the focused interests of the lobbyists and their clients’ interests?

Professor Terwilliger:

If I had voted this politician into his/her seat in the political realm, I would hope that they would listen and serve the people that voted them in.  The unfortunate thing, we do not know what goes on behind closed doors.  If the interest group is very strong and have the money, they will most likely get their point across.  In our reading, I believe it states that the National Rifle Association donates a lot of money towards the Republican party.  Is this a way that they make sure they are informed of their interest and get the support from that person?  I can give my opinion to them through email, calls, or in person, but they might vote on something the other way I feel and there is nothing I can do about that because I do not have the money or the support of others.

Rory,

I like your post in regards to how we do not know what goes on behind closed doors and what really motivates a politician to support the interest groups that they do. We can assume and hope that it only has to do with their personal beliefs and values, which I’m sure it does for many, but we also know that money and support plays a HUGE role in these kinds of things. Politicians are in a position where any extra support or recognition of interest groups can’t be passed up. These groups benefit them so much financially and in other ways as well.

The NRA was an interesting one that you brought up because I could have assumed they would be donating money to the Republican party with gun rights and all but I just never thought about what that might do for the politicians (such as Trump) who run under the Republican party. Regarding what that does for their campaign and organizations that they outwardly express supporting. Not saying they don’t support these interest groups in real life but maybe there wouldn’t be as much obligation there if they weren’t being funded? Support from a lot of people and well known interest groups usually only benefits for the voting community being targeted. Things to think about.

Another example that I thought of was in a Netflix documentary I watched called What the Health where the main narrator discusses how it’s been discovered that high amounts of dairy intake increases the risk for a woman to develop breast cancer. This has been researched and proven but it is not mentioned on the Susan G. Komen website or any other breast cancer awareness source according to the film. It was later found that this might be because dairy companies such as Yoplait and multiple others have been directly linked to funding and donating large amounts of money to Susan G. Komen’s purpose of finding a cure for breast cancer and other breast cancer health topics. This is crazy to think that these large food companies have the power to determine what health information is disclosed or not based on how much money they are giving. I don’t see how anybody could argue that there isn’t a valid relation between the two…

https://www.netflix.com/watch/80174177?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C0%2Ce4dbd7fd7984b62f4513376ceaff9108de115899%3A36c21024f1401798e6ab8b59d2a2e63394da5c74 (Links to an external site.)

Leigh:

Interesting find that you had regarding cancer.  Did they state a reason in these studies, what the reason was with the high dairy intake that increased cancer in a woman? I was always taught that the more milk you drank the stronger your bones will be.  It is interesting what information is left out because of the money that is placed in different groups.

Thank You.

Rory

I do not remember for sure if they stated the reason behind but I think I recall something about high-fat diets being related and that milk/dairy is typically high in fat. Don’t quote me on that though. I would definitely recommend watching the documentary yourself as I found it eye opening along with a few other people I know who also watched it. I don’t believe everything I heard in it and I try to do my own outside research but it was a good view nonetheless.

Here’s the mention of it on the Susan G. Komen website which was edited on 6/29/17 and if you pay attention to the particular wording that is used I feel as if they’re trying to talk in circles a little bit. Read carefully in regards to ‘before’ and ‘after menopause…’

https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Table16Dairymilkconsumptionandbreastcancerrisk.html

Edited by Leigh Bennett on Nov 15, 2017 at 6:26pm

Professor Terwilliger

As for my vote on my choice of a politician, I would expect for him or her to have best interests in what I believe in and make decisions in the best of interest for the People.

When Trump became our President, anyone that has followed his progress can obviously see that any attempt he has made for change has had many outspoken people verbalizing their dislikes and have made many an attempt to block him on his decisions. Here we go again, How many are informed on the policies and politics in question. I respect those that have facts and are knowledgeable regarding what it is they want changed. If their outspoken views are based on the mass frenzy of Social Media and are not able to answer any of the political questions asked, it is not in the best interest of our American citizens to voice an opinion based on their ignorance.

Damaris

Professor Terwilliger,

By definition, a lobbyist is a member of a particular interest group whose main intention is to persuade legislators toward a business or cause.  Typically there is compensation for lobbying in the name of said business or cause; additionally, they are not considered legislators garnering support for their particular bill.  Politicians, on the other hand, are individuals active in party politics whose positions range from judiciary, legislative and executive branches of regional or national governments.  The difference between the two is that one is elected based on their beliefs and opinions on topics while the other supports someone running in an election with the same beliefs and opinions.  I do believe that the job of politicians is to listen to their voters and support their beliefs while making unbiased decisions on their behalf.  Listening to their constituent’s opinions and wishes is what helps politicians get elected in the first place; continuing to do so is what gets them reelected.  To focus decision making solely on the positions of lobbyists and their interest groups could acquire more votes from those members; however, they are less impartial and appear biased to citizens not a part of those focused interest groups.

– Dana

www.ncsl.org

Hi Dana,

Your post is very interesting. This is where politics for me gets a like muddy. I was thinking about lobbyist and how they would want what they are fighting for to win. That just makes sense to me but the politicians we elect should listen to the voice of the constituents. Overall, to me I think money does the talking and those receiving the money implement our policies and laws. This makes me really angry but is how it’s been for ages. I just thought about an interest group that directly affects me the American Nurses Association (ANA). They advocate for nurses and help implement policies regarding patient/nurse ratios and many other things including continuing education. This group has a passion for the nurses it serves. This opens up a whole new thinking for me it’s political but not on the forefront as in elections that still effects change in the nursing world.

Thanks, A’lon

Professor Terwilliger,

Isn’t the very nature of an interest group or lobbyist to be biased toward the cause they advocate?

Isn’t it the politicians’ job to make impartial decisions?

These are interesting questions. And the answer to both is “yes” …

Fortunately, both lobbying and impartial decision making are not mutually exclusive. Elected officials are lobbied by both (or many) sides of a cause … So, they receive both (or all) sides of the story. By listening to a variety of opinions on an issue, the elected official can make a more informed decision on the best course for his or her constituency. Many special interest groups sponsor research to help back their claims. By presenting this research to those who can best act upon it, special interest groups provide the service of educating elected officials. At times, groups will also release the same research data to the general public (sometimes by releasing research results to the public, interest groups encourage the populace to lobby their elected representatives, in essence, doing the lobbying work for the special interest groups). Special interest lobbying is often the target of criticism. Some argue that lobbyists stretch the truth or are prone to corruption. As Holman and Luneburg (2012) point out, like everyone else, lobbyists realize that they have an image problem and that the best way to address that problem is by operating in the broad daylight of public transparency. Ultimately, we must rely upon the judgement of the elected official to differentiate between legitimate research data aimed at the public good and the skewed data of lobbyists seeking to merely gain advantage.

Thank You,

Gordon

Reference:

Holman, C. & Luneburg, W. (2012). Lobbying and transparency: A

comparative analysis of regulatory reform. Interest Groups and

         Advocacy. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1057/iga.2012.4 (Links to an external site.)

Professor, I voted because it was important to vote. If I am voting it is because this person has shown to me things that are important to me are also important to them and they want to implement change. I did not vote for the person or people who were only for self gain. I think politicians are getting away from what is important.
Hey Aesha,

Voting is an important right as a citizens and should be exercised diligently. We all have our very own reasons for voting for the candidate that we love. My main reason for voting is I believe in the candidate I choose and believe in the change that he/she is trying to implement. I did not vote for the person as their interest were not aligned to mine and I had no confidence that they would deliver on their promise.

Great post Lucia, 

         I feel the same way, and think that it would be completely absurd if anyone stated that they voted for someone based on the fact that they did not agree with the changes that they were trying to implement. I just wonder how we get over the fact that sometimes the candidates that we have to choose from are not remotely close to what i feel is in the best interest of the country. I am not sure about you, but sometimes when I try to get involved in our country’s politic i feel like they say here are your two choices, would you rather burn the country with gasoline or propane. This is so frustrating for me, and i wish there was just an easy fix.

Sharon,

I have often felt this way. What are we supposed when we do not agree with any of the choices available? I heard it said several times during the last presidential election that we had to choose “the lesser evil”. I think this is very sad. I know that we will never have the perfect candidate, but should we really feel that they are all evil? Should there not be at least one that we can mostly agree with?

Scott

The nature of an interest group is biased toward the causes they advocate. The politicians they lobby are supposed to make impartial decisions and serve their constituents. Lobbyists are professionals and usually have served in government positions, so they typically have relationships already established with whom they are lobbying. I would assume they make excellent arguments for their cause. Leigh brings up the dairy farmers and research about milk and breast cancer. That interest group represents the dairy industry which is an influential group and has a large number of voting members. In a sense, this aggregate is a politician’s constituents. They may have felt it is better to back them as the link between cancer and milk may be low, and the money given towards research is serving the bigger picture as milk is also attributed to having other health benefits.

Angelica

Hi everyone.

Yes, the nature of an interest group is to promote and advocate for the causes they believe in.  Although politicians are to remain unbiased when making decision, politicians are also people of America that have grown up with certain views and may still be biased about issues.  Between the interest groups and the politicians are lobbyists that work closely with both organizations.  The goal of a lobbyist is to influence legislators to vote and create laws within their interest.  Some interesting facts about lobbyists is that they raise money for elected officials by hosting fundraisers in order to buy influence for their clients.  They bribe Congress members to become lobbyists with high paying job offers when their terms end. “Congressmen who go on to become lobbyists get, on average, a 1,452% raise” (Us, 2017). Ultimately, this percentage of a pay raise would likely persuade anyone to vote the way of the lobbyist that will employ them in the future. So let’s do the math.  According to nolabels.org (2012), “The Average Joe of Congress (there are 529 of them) gets paid $174,000 per year”.  Considering the raise percentage (which is also an average), the “new” lobbyist has the potential to make $2.5 million once the term ends.  Wouldn’t this be persuasive to anyone?

References:

Congressional compensation: How much do members of Congress get paid? (2015, May 08). Retrieved November 17, 2017, from https://www.nolabels.org/blog/congressional-compensation-how-much-do-members-of-congress-get-paid/ (Links to an external site.)

Us (2017). 5 Crazy Facts About Lobbyists.  Retrieved November 17, 2017, from https://represent.us/action/5-facts-lobbyists/

Amber

I should have studied and received a degree in Politics! Good gracious if they make that much per year and most earn that salary on lies I would be kicked out of the lobbying life because I am too firm on fact checks and would not be one to pull the wool over US Americans. I read your posted reference (US 2017) crazy facts and it’s unbelievable to say the least. What is America coming to?

The career path of a lobbyist is comprised of many diverging trails all leading back to one common goal: Results. The following is what they do to achieve their goals and INCITE change.

1. They are Master communicators.

2. They are connected.

3. They are Invested in a cause.

4. They are Bold.

5. They take risks.

Reference

interesting Facts About Lobbyists| USC MCM

https://www.communicationmgmt.usc.edu (Links to an external site.)

Damaris

Hello,

It is the job of the interest groups and lobbyist to be bias toward their cause.  Politicians are supposed to be impartial.  But they are not.  We see so many times that politicians take payoff  or kickbacks from lobbyist in exchange for a vote in their favor. One of my favorite movies the Pelican Brief showed how politician were being manipulated to get votes in favor of drilling for oil in nature reserve wetlands.  Even supreme court justices were being killed off and manipulate for votes.  I am a firm believer that fiction is based on reality.  Because people are imperfect and money rules, there will always be a politician, cop, judge, etc. that can be bought.

Robyn

This is exactly what I was thinking. Isn’t it human nature to fight for what you believe in. Unfortunately, everything we do is somewhat configured towards our own values and beliefs. They teach us in nursing school to look at everything and everyone in an unbiased and nonjudgmental way. Im not sure that is really possible, as we may be really good at pretending, but can we really 100% do that? Would we really be who we truely are if we could do that? Like i have said before, I am not really into politics, but comparatively speaking, everything we do in relation to everything all comes from our beliefs from which toilet paper we buy all the way to which president we vote for.

Dear Professor and Classmates, 

•    What is the relationship between interest groups and government, and how does this apply to government-created interest groups?
“Interest groups try to influence government” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 158). Interest groups can come in many forms and fashions and may try to influence government in anything from farming to war. “Not all “interest group” activity is good or peaceful; it depends on the groups’ willingness to operate within the law, which in turn requires strong states” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 158). In weakened states such as Colombia or Kabul then often the interest groups activity is related to drugs or violence. Most branches of government have at least one interest group that correlate to it. In some countries interest groups actively participate in government legislation and help to draft policies as such. “Some call this corporatism, meaning interest groups taking on government functions” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 159). Three of the more well known government created interest groups are the Department of Education, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These groups were all created after interest groups demanded grants, regulations or agencies to be created. “In 1938, as part of FDR’s program to get out of the Depression, Congress created the Federal National Mortgage Association—soon known as “Fannie Mae” –to underwrite home loans and thus encourage home purchases and construction” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 159). Many years later the government created a second corporation for the same purpose called Freddie Mac, to create healthy competition. In 2008 when the housing market crashed, the government was criticized for backing these two companies with unlimited funds to keep them from failing. In several cases in history it was felt it may be better to get rid of certain interest groups, but they were failed attempts because the influence behind the groups were so large.

•    What are the effects of bureaucrats as interest groups? Do you believe this crossover between bureaucrats and interest groups to be right?
“Government and interest groups are related in another important but sometimes overlooked way: Bureaucracies have become big and powerful interest groups” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 159). According to Roskin, bureaucracies tend to see their issues as big and important and push for more money or more employees each year (pg. 160). “In Japan, the powerful bureaucrats of the finance and trade (METI) ministries routinely tell the Diet what to legislate” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 159). I’m not sure if I feel that Bureaucrats and interest groups crossing territories is a good idea. It seems that if the Bureaucracy is influencing legislation and laws, then that would become much like a monopoly over the legislature. “While advocacy groups, trade associations and government agencies also sponsor legislation, more than 500 of the sponsored bills introduced in the 2007-08 session came from private industry and trade groups. Many sought to increase market share, repel regulations or limit lawsuits” (DailyNews.com). One example of this was a bill proposed in California to reduce homelessness and create a diversified affordable housing area, a second lobbyist from the Anschutz Entertainment Group came in later that proposed the same bill with a few changes. The changes of the bill benefited the Staples Center, which was owned by this group, by making the project areas closest to the Staples Center more aesthetically pleasing. The second version of the bill was passed and the greater benefit of it was felt from the Staples Center and their owners. If the Bureaucracy has only their interests in mind, which I feel most would, then they will only push for legislations that will influence their needs and possibly not what is in the best interest of all.

References:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:
An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

DailyNews.com. (2010, July). Sixty percent of laws approved during a two-year period were sponsored by outside interests. Retrieved from www.dailynews.com/2010/07/10/sixty-percent-of-laws-approved-during-a-two-year-period-were-sponsored-by-outside-interests/amp/

Edited by Brandy Bryant on Nov 12, 2017 at 2:28pm

Professor and class,

What is the relationship between interest groups and government?

An interest group is a group of individuals trying to influence government. These groups are not accountable to the public as is the government. Interest groups have a specific agenda that they promote. These groups support the official that is for their agenda through funds. Some support political parties “The National Rifle Association, for example, strongly tilts to Republican candidates (Roskin, 2014).” Appealing to a specific branch of government is also a way that interest groups push and promote certain policies. Government looks to these groups to help fund their campaigns.

 How does this apply to government-created interest groups?

The government can create interest groups. The first was Fannie Mae, created by President Roosevelt. Another is Freddie Mac. These have since been made private. Both are still supported by taxpayer dollars. “This circular flow is common: Congress creates a program, the program creates an interest group, and then the interest group works on Congress to keep supporting it (Roskin, 2014).”

What are the effects of bureaucrats as interest groups?

“Bureaucracies have become big and powerful interest groups (Roskin, 2014).” Civil servants are an example. They have a say in lawmaking. Civil servants also petition the government for their funding and demand more every year.

Do you believe this crossover between bureaucrats and interest groups to be right?

I believe that if it is monitored the crossover is a good thing. These bureaucrats should to monitored to prevent monopolies from forming. But overall, I think that if the policy they are pushing is for the greater good, the crossover is a good thing.

Reference:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

Scott

I too agree that bureaucrats if not somewhat monitored or controlled could begin to form monopolies. If they are pushing for their interests and they also have the financial backing they will be more likely to push legislature through. When elected officials require financial backing to sometimes run or maintain campaigns i would think this could be a tough situation to push through a bill that is very like another, but with a twist that would make it benefit the bureaucracies more so than the little guy.

What is the relationship between interest groups and government?

How does this apply to government-created interest groups?

In addition, what are the effects of bureaucrats as interest groups?

William, great post. The way you described everything made this discussion easy to understand. I agree that bureaucrats should be monitored, because of the risk of monopolies forming. If the policy truly is for the greater good then yes, the crossover would be a great thing.

Good Morning Professor and Class,

Interest groups are organized groups of like-minded people that make policy related appeals to government or our books’ describes it “influencing politics.” Some groups are American Civil Liberties Union, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Americans for Democratic Action, AARP, U.S. Department of health and human services, Department of Education, Energy, The Christian coalition and many more.  “Once government is funding something, the groups that benefit develop constituencies with a strong interest in continuing the programs. As government has become bigger and sponsored more programs, interest groups have proliferated.” (Roskin, 2013.)  Two things that the interest groups do when interacting with the government. First they shape policies, by mobilizing voters or putting pressure on elected officials. Second they gather information for elected officials and exert there pressures on congress. Some say they have a lot of influence of the government. Interests group are about changing policies and pursue both inside and outside strategies to influence policy’s’ makers.The effects of bureaucrats as interest groups have become powerful, “Many of the data and witnesses before legislative committees are from the executive department and agencies.” ( Roskin, 2013). They view their tasks as important and demand budgets and employees yearly. Money plays a big part in interests groups and most important for elections, and interests groups help candidates who favor their cases. “In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted limits on giving to super-PACs, and some fear that this will lead to influence buying and corruption. U.S. oil and agricultural interests give generously and get federal subsidies. The healthcare and financial industries are the biggest campaign contributors—to both parties—and receive ample consideration. Said California political boss Jesse Unruh: “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” (Roskin, 2013)

Do you believe this crossover between bureaucrats and interest groups to be right?

I believe depending on the type of groups can be right for example, Combating the Criminalization of Homelessness. Helping the homeless, counseling them and providing them with the resources is beneficial. “They get in trouble for sitting on sidewalks, sleeping in the park, and their inability to pay fines. These seemingly small infractions can be crippling for a person clawing their way out of poverty.”

Lelany

Reference:

Roskin, M., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., & Jones, W. S. (2014). Political science: an introduction (13th ed.). Pearson.

ABA Annual Meeting 2015: Combating the Criminalization of Homelessness

Edited by Lelany Jimenez on Nov 13, 2017 at 1:45am
Lelany,

     Thank you for your thought provoking and interesting post. I like the fact that you quoted Jesse Unruh when he said: “money is the mother’s milk of politics”. Money and politics, it seems, are inseparable. Special interest groups are well aware of that and use the lure of money to their advantage. We see many lobbying groups headquartered in Washington, D.C. The sheer number of special interest groups is staggering. There is fear, among the critics of lobbying, that this system could lead to corruption. And they are correct. Fortunately, the law limits the amounts of money that can be directly contributed to elected officials. This helps to stave off the mere buying of legislators’ time and voting patterns. Although some argue that lobbying is a corrupting factor in politics, it does serve an important purpose. It presents the interests of the populace to the leaders who have the power to change the status quo. Issues that elected officials would not be aware of, or have lack of information on, can be brought to the forefront of legislation with diligent lobbying. Special interest groups are expected to present evidence supporting their position and why voting a certain way will benefit the populace. As Cotton (2010) states, it is worth recognizing that any interest group that is offered access will reveal its favorable evidence. So, lobbying by special interest can perform the function of educating legislators on the issues by presenting the latest findings and best evidence.

Thank You,

Gordon

Reference:

Cotton, C. (2010). Pay-to-play politics: Informational lobbying and

contribution limits when money buys access. Journal of Public

         Economics, 96(3-4). Retrieved from

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.11.005 (Links to an external site.)

Lelany

Strong advocacy post! I read the reference you submitted and it enlightened me even more on effects of what these homeless individuals endure. As a nurse, I see many homeless individuals come into the ED complaining of pain and when they get back into a room most immediately confess that they do not have an ailment they just seek a little rest on a mattress and some food and juice. It is heartbreaking to hear them. We just close the door, feed them and allow them rest for a few hours before discharging them. We do need to include them and advocate for more shelter beds or apartments where they can again get back on their feet.  Being a voice and Combating the Criminalization of Homelessness is a real factor. ABA Annual Meeting 2015

Hello Professor and class,

This week are exploring interest groups and how they relate to government. First, let’s define what an interest group is. In Roskin, we read that an interest group is a collection of people trying to influence public policy while working outside the electoral process (p. 156). The relationship between interest groups and government is tied closely to the interest of that group. The purpose of an interest group is to influence policies created by the government. Education is a large interest group that has been present in society for a long time requiring its own department. The Department of Education mission is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access” (ed.gov, 2017). To complete their mission statement, they work alongside government trying to promote programs that will help them achieve that often attaching themselves to a particular political party of government official elect to gain momentum and a buzz regarding the issues they deem important. The Department of Education would be considered a government created interest group. With the future of our children claiming importance the government decided to join in hoping to have some control in the way policies will be created. Bureaucrats will use interest groups to push a certain agenda they also have in common with the group. Bureaucrats try to gain money and power while involved in the interest group. I think that there has to be some type of guidelines for those involved in interest groups. To me it appears the lines are very blurry between outside the government (interest groups) and inside (political parties).

Thanks, A’lon

Source:

U.S Department of Education (2017).  https://www.ed.gov/ (Links to an external site.)

Roskin, M., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., & Jones, W. S. (2014). Political science: an introduction (13th ed.). Pearson.Is the life of a special interest or public interest group finite?

For example, if a group is advocating for a particular interest, does that group lose power or clout once a resolution to that interest has passed? For example, MADD (Mohters Against Drunk Driving) originally was formed to raise the drinking age to 21. Their efforts were successful. The group continues to function more as an advocate to raise public awareness about the dangers of driving while impaired.

Does the evolution of this group’s purpose mean that public interest groups are a necessary component of effecting change in politics and that they are a necessary part of the political process?

Professor,

I would have to say that many interest groups do seem to change once a certain resolution has passes, but the route that they take may be different. For example, the NRA was first established in order to facilitate the sport of marksmanship for America’s youth. Once that period had fades out it started to gear its efforts towards facilitating firearm training for various populations within the United States. In today’s age, it major effort is towards the implementation of conceal to carry premit reciprocity. As we can see, over the years their focus has shifted as the times have changed. Some interest groups by decide to focus their energy towards advocating for issues that have already been resolved, such as the MADD that you described above. On the other hand, other groups my decide to focus their efforts towards other issue related around the same topic. This being said, a conclusion could be made that many interest groups that form within our country tend change with politics instead of fade out as times change.

Marissa, I agree with what you have posted. A lot of these groups are still active, but have just evolved what their purpose is. MADD has met their purpose, but is still around educating people on the dangers of drunk driving, which ties in to their original purpose. I do wonder though, with all of these interest groups that have the same interest (all of the groups for all of the different categories), will they eventually come together as one? Or will they end up separating themselves more by evolving into a more specific goal for themselves?

Professor you pose an interesting question,

Does the evolution of this group’s purpose mean that public interest groups are a necessary component of effecting change in politics and that they are a necessary part of the political process?

Yes, I would believe that interest groups are an effective and necessary part of effecting change in the political process, mostly from the money and campaigning that can garner national attention where an individual would not be able to have their cause heard. Mothers Against Drunk Driving represented the interests of mothers who simply wanted safer drivers and their children to be protected behind the wheel. While this was an example of a very specific interest group, there are other interest groups that do not wane in power purely because they cover a scope of interest that doesn’t pass in terms of controversy or national talking points during elections.

 

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