Special Interest Groups Pros And Cons

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Mr. Pring Name: ________________________ AP U.S. Government 161 Date: _________________________ Chapter Nine – Interest Groups – Pros and Cons Question: Are special interests damaging American politics? Should special interest groups be banned from giving campaign donations and from lobbying politicians for their causes? Context: Political discussion in America often involves negative references to “special interests”. These special interests are organized groups that play an active part in politics, especially through the giving of money to parties and candidates in elections. They also lobby (try to persuade) elected law-makers (legislators) and government officials in an attempt to influence new laws (legislation)…show more content…
No one who accepts money from someone else is truly free to serve the public good in a fair-minded way. Running for election in the USA costs millions of dollars, needed to pay for a campaign organization and television advertisements. When a politician relies on huge sums of money contributed by an interest group in order to run, his or her vote will naturally be influenced by the wishes of that organization rather than by what is best for the country. 2. The size of campaign donations has become so large that donors certainly expect some kind of payback. A manufacturers’ association will not give $100 000 away just as a gesture of good will; it expects to see its concerns favorably addressed in Congress. And what is good for a particular group of manufacturers may well be bad for the wider public interest. For example, protective tariffs (import taxes) on foreign competitors may raise prices for consumers. Weaker health and safety rules may be bad for…show more content…
These special interests are organized groups that play an active part in politics, especially through the giving of money to parties and candidates in elections. They also lobby (try to persuade) elected law-makers (legislators) and government officials in an attempt to influence new laws (legislation) and public policy. Some special interests act in their economic self-interest (e.g. manufacturers’ associations, unions, farmers’ groups). Some special interest groups act on behalf of particular parts of society (e.g. National Organization for Women, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, AARP, and American Indian Movement). Other groups are dedicated to public causes or policies (e.g. Sierra Club, National Rifle Association, American Civil Liberties Union, and National Right to Life Committee). Many of these groups have millions of dollars available to spend on influencing the political process. Between them they employ thousands of lobbyists in Washington DC (famously on “K Street”) and in state capitals. The question is whether this money corrupts the political system? Are legislators more concerned with pleasing donors and lobbyists than they are with responding to the will of average
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