The Interest Group Connection: Electioneering, Lobbying, and Policymaking in Washington

By Paul S. Herrnson; Ronald G. Shaiko et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

ORGANIZED interest groups -- sometimes referred to as special interests or factions -- have always played important roles in American politics. Factions weighed heavily on the minds of the Framers of the Constitution. They were a major focus of Populist and Progressive reformers at the turn of the twentieth century. At the dawning of the twenty-first century, individuals and reform groups claiming to be proponents of honest, clean government continue to label organized interest groups as the villains of American politics.

Nevertheless, interest groups play a positive role in the political arena. They organize constituencies affected by what government does -- protecting their rights, defending their interests, and giving them a say in the political process. Without organized interests, many workers, business leaders, and issue advocates living across the United States and abroad would feel that they had no influence on the political process. Interest groups help connect Americans to their government.

Interest groups are pervasive in American political life. They spend money and mobilize voters in elections, lobby Congress and the White House, and attempt to influence the courts. The fortunes of interest groups rise and fall with political trends and events. Election outcomes; spending, regulatory, and redistributive initiatives introduced in Congress; executive orders; and judicial decisions can create or close down opportunities for interest group influence. Reforms specifically targeted at labor, business, and trade associations, and nonprofit group lobbyists who frequent Capitol Hill, can have a profound impact on the connection between American citizens and their government.

-vii-

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The Interest Group Connection: Electioneering, Lobbying, and Policymaking in Washington
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Preface vii
  • Comments on the Electoral Connection 80
  • Part III the Congressional Connection 87
  • 6 the Dynamics of Lobbying the Hill 89
  • 7 Grassroots Organizations and Equilibrium Cycles in Group Mobilization and Access 100
  • 10 Interest Groups and the Congressional Budget Process: Lobbying in the Era of Deficit Politics 154
  • Acknowledgments 173
  • Notes 173
  • 11 Tobacco Industry Pacs and the Nation's Health: A Second Opinion 174
  • Comments on the Congressional Connection 196
  • Part IV the Executive Connection 203
  • 12 Lobbying the President and the Bureaucracy 205
  • Notes 213
  • Notes 223
  • 14 Lobbying for the President: Influencing Congress from the White House 224
  • Notes 238
  • Notes 256
  • Comments on the Executive Connection 258
  • Part V the Judicial Connection 265
  • Acknowledgments 287
  • Notes 287
  • 17 Please God, Save This Honorable Court: the Emergence of the Conservative Religious Bar 289
  • Acknowledgment 300
  • Notes 300
  • Notes 302
  • Notes 316
  • Comments on the Judicial Connection 318
  • Part VI Conclusion 325
  • 19 Interest Groups at the Dawn of a New Millennium 327
  • References 337
  • Index 361
  • About the Contributors 374
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