Lobbying in America: A Reference Handbook

Lobbying in America: A Reference Handbook

Lobbying in America: A Reference Handbook

Lobbying in America: A Reference Handbook

Excerpt

As Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political scientist, wrote in 1834, “In no country in the world has the principle of association been more successfully used … as in America” (Heffner 1956, 95). Another political scientist, Arthur Bentley, wrote more than a century ago, “When groups are adequately stated, everything is stated” (Bentley 1949, 208). Many believe this statement is even truer in contemporary American politics. The United States in the 21st century appears to be awash in interest group politics. Every major and minor policy initiative debate is organized and dominated by interest groups supporting or opposing it. Our current political leaders frequently discuss the prospects and problems of our present political environment in terms of “special interests” and “lobbyists.”

Interest group politics is even more on our minds because of its newly expanded role as the “deep pockets” and general supporter of our political party campaigns. As parties continued their decline from their once preeminent role in our national campaigns, interest groups moved in to fill the void. Now, various interest groups and movements attach themselves to many of our campaigns years before election day and promote their causes in a relentless manner in the national media, by lobbying in Washington, D.C., and the various state capitals, and by organizing and implementing candidate campaigns across the United States.

Lobbying and interest groups in the United States have also been in our consciousness in recent years because of the frequent cases of corruption at the highest and lowest levels of U.S. politics. The Jack Abramoff, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, and Bob Nye scandals in 2006–2007 brought the words bribery, lobbyist, member of Congress, and prison to the front pages of newspapers over and over again. The rewards associated with successful lobbying . . .

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