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US Pressure Groups

Contemporary US Government and Politics
by

Ross McKenzie

on 8 February 2013

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Transcript of US Pressure Groups

K-STREET, IRON TRIANGLES, THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND THE REVOLVING DOOR Where does the following video link into the concept
of pressure groups? Definnition : In politics, the "revolving door" is the movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and the industries affected by the legislation and regulation Functions of US Pressure Groups EDUCATION REGULATION/MONITORING AGENDA SETTING PARTICIPATION REPRESENTATION Assess the view that representation is the most important function of pressure groups. (25) Interest Group Methods Direct
- committee hearings
- lobbying – constituency impact of policy
- Pigeon-holing or filibustering?

Indirect
- Electoral Finance
- Public Support

Campaign Contributions

http://maplight.org/

John McCain’s Campaign Contributions

http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/lm_memsclients.php?id=N00006424

Senator John Cornyn (R – TX)

http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/lm_memsclients.php?id=N00024852 Legislative Influence Re-election

Mail Campaigns

Direct action (Tea Party Demo 2009)
- civil disobedience
- violence
- 1994 – 4 murders and 8 attempted on abortion practitioners
- Murder of George Tiller in Kansas, 2009. Public Pressure Source of information

Supreme Court

- Reno vs American Civil Liberties 1997

- Citizen’s Union vs Federal Election Committee 2008
- Sheidler vs National Organisation of Women 2006 Legal Action Decline of party cohesion

Traditional Alliance –

Pro-life (Right to life – Republicans)

vs

Pro-Choice (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws - NARAL – Supporting Barack Obama in 2008 at the DNC) Influencing Parties Large companies can influence the executive

Different sections (President/Cabinet/Fed. Bureaucracy)

EXOP and vertical agencies

Enron

Read article on Enron – At a glance
Robert Gates giving a public address at Lockheed Martin in 2009 Executive Influence 4 Groups

Take one of the above topics

Present research and interesting facts about your area e.g. How many lobbying firms in K-Street? How much money spent on military and to who it went to? Any scandals involving iron-triangles? High profile 'revolving door' types?

Flexible in its presentation, just give me facts! K-STREET IRON TRIANGLES THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX THE REVOLVING DOOR "Under current law, government officials who make contracting decisions must either wait a year before joining a military contractor or, if they want to switch immediately, must start in an affiliate or division unrelated to their government work. One big loophole is that these restrictions do not apply to many high-level policy makers..., who can join corporations or their boards without waiting." Military–industrial complex, is a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the military industrial base that supports them
According to SIPRI, total world spending on military expenses in 2009 was $1.531 trillion US dollars.
46.5% of this total, roughly $712 billion US dollars, was spent by the United States.
The Military budget of the United States for the 2009 fiscal year was $515.4 billion. Adding emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending brings the sum to $651.2 billion. This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget. Overall the United States government is spending about $1 trillion annually on defense-related purposes.

The defense industry tends to contribute heavily to incumbent members of Congress •A strong relationship between pressure groups, the relevant congressional committee, and the relevant government department or agency.
•This cosy relationship guarantees policy outcomes to the benefit of all 3 parties involved
•‘Veterans iron triangle’- Vietnam Veterans of America, the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Affairs and the American Legion- Veterans Affair’s Committees of the House and Senate- Department of Veterans Affairs.
•Such triangles can become too powerful and constitutes its own sub-government – agriculture and defence
•Iron triangles is linked to the revolving door syndrome
•Enhances the view that pressure groups are part of elitist society- money, expertise and influence- resources are in the hands of the few.
•Interest groups give support to Congress in elections. In turn, the Congress gives the Federal Bureaucracy money to buy weapons. The Bureaucracy the gives low regulation and special favours to the Interest Groups
Congress gives the Interest groups friendly legisaltion. Interest Groups provide support to the Bureaucracy. The Bureaucracy delivers of laws passed by Congress •A strong relationship between pressure groups, the relevant congressional committee, and the relevant government department or agency.

•This cosy relationship guarantees policy outcomes to the benefit of all 3 parties involved

•‘Veterans iron triangle’- Vietnam Veterans of America, the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Affairs and the American Legion- Veterans Affair’s Committees of the House and Senate- Department of Veterans Affairs.

1) AIPAC - Protect Israel from hostile neighbours with military aid.
2) Defence department - Greater sales to foreign nations means profits.
3) Foreign Relations Committee: Many of its members funded by AIPAC.
This means that the US does not sell weapons to guns to countries that do not have a Pro-Israel position

•Such triangles can become too powerful and constitutes its own sub-government – Such as Agriculture and Defense departments

•Iron triangles is linked to the revolving door syndrome

•Enhances the view that pressure groups are part of elitist society- money, expertise and influence- resources are in the hands of the few.

•Interest groups give support to Congress in elections. In turn, the Congress gives the Federal Bureaucracy money to buy weapons. The Bureaucracy the gives low regulation and special favours to the Interest Groups

Congress gives the Interest groups friendly legisaltion. Interest Groups provide support to the Bureaucracy. The Bureaucracy delivers of laws passed by Congress A High-profile U.S. Representative Democratic Dick Gephardt left his congressional post to become a lobbyist.
His lobbying agency Gephardt Government Affairs Group earned close to $7 million in revenues in 2010 from clients including Goldman Sachs, Boeing, Visa Inc., Ameren Corporation, and Waste Management Inc. Pressure Groups K-Street is the lobby hub of Washington D.C.


The top ten Lobby firms combined spent over $120.9 million for the first half of 2012. They are:
• Patton Boggs: $24.2 million
• Akin Gump: $15.6 million
• Podesta Group: $13.7 million
• Van Scoyoc Associates: $11 million
• Brownstein Hyatt: $11.4 million
• Ogilvy Government Relations: $9.8 million
• K&L Gates: $9.3 million
• Williams & Jensen: $9.1 million
• Holland & Knight: $9 million
• Cassidy & Associates: $7.9 million


In 2012, the American Public Transportation Association is a well known lobby firm that has offices on K Street, they spent $1.5 million on lobbying the government

The average wage for a lobbyist in Washington DC is around $100,000 a year, but the top
1% are known to get in excess of $250,000 a year. A High-profile U.S. Representative Democratic Dick Gephardt left his congressional post to become a lobbyist.
His lobbying agency Gephardt Government Affairs Group earned close to $7 million in revenues in 2010 from clients including Goldman Sachs, Boeing, Visa Inc., Ameren Corporation, and Waste Management Inc. Examples of individuals who have moved between roles in this way in sensitive areas include Linda Fisher (pesticide and biotech), Philip Perry (homeland security), Pat Toomey, Dan Coats, and former FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker (media lobbying). In 2012, a total of : $3,276,904,737 was spent on Lobbying the government. In 2011, General Electric paid Federal Policy Group on K Street $49 million to lobby the government. Are Pressure Groups good for American Democracy? YES!!!! NO???? 1.They provide true representation for people between elections. 2.The broad nature of the political parties is not good for the representation of particular ideas and issues like anti-smoking or abortion. Pressure groups fill the gap left by a weakly organised party system. 3.Pressure groups help to keep society open and governments accountable. They can criticise political systems in ways that politicians cannot. 4.Pressure groups are able to lobby at a wide variety of access points and levels. Local needs can be represented at local levels, and do not have the difficulties of waiting for decisions to filter down. Many important issues such as immigration or gay marriage have become almost local matters in terms of where the decisions are really made. Referendums are now commonly held at election time, as in 2006, when states settle these issues and pressure groups become highly active at this level. 5.Separation of powers and varied access points will make sure that no group dominates in political argument. There are plenty of chances for all groups to have a say. 6.Pressure groups do much to help people understand issues and to participate in politics. The issues they advocate are often clearer than the stance taken by parties. 7.Pressure groups do much to keep governments informed. While they certainly do exist, the ‘iron triangle’ relationships are not as powerful as they once were. Decision makers in the public eye cannot afford to be tied too much to one group. 8.Pressure groups like the Christian Coalition did much to scrutinise members of the government and inform voters about the record of politicians. Many other groups keep voters informed in this way.
10.Pressure groups often encourage the creation of other pressure groups with opposing views. In the USA this has been especially true of major groups such as those that are pro-choice and those that are pro-life in relation to abortion. This helps keep democratic debate healthy and limits the power of all pressure groups. 11.Pressure groups have often challenged executive and legislative decisions, e.g. laws on abortion and capital punishment. In 2005 Bush was forced to back down over his insistence that port security should be in the hands of P&O, recently taken over by a Saudi-Arabian company. When the electorate itself acts as pressure groups protesting over issues like the Iraq War, as they did in the 2006 Midterms, the Government has little choice but to reconsider its policies. Those in power can never ignore the attitudes of the public expressed collectively through pressure groups; they help to keep government attitudes flexible. 9.Pressure groups make sure the Bill of Rights continues to mean something. They actively keep alive the freedoms granted over 200 years ago. 1. Larger, richer groups have too much influence (elitist arguments). It is a myth that smaller groups can get together to balance them (countervailing power). Governments are more likely to listen to certain influential groups (conspiracy theory). This is the ‘iron triangle’ problem, where some groups have insider influence with the bureaucracy and Congressional committees. 2.The ‘revolving door’ policy means that over 20% of those who leave Congress become professional lobbyists. This gives some groups an unfair advantage. 3.Members of pressure groups don’t always have much say. That is too often left to the leadership, which is rarely elected. 4.Too often, pressure groups only represent minority opinions. Who’s to say that the policy of a pressure group really represents the feelings of all of its members? Perhaps a pressure group like the NRA has too much influence over Congress and state governments, and doesn’t really represent the view of the majority of Americans. Its influence was strong in the recent case of District of Columbia v Heller 2008. Can the AARP possibly know what its 32 million members want?
5.Conversely politicians will tend to support groups that they feel will carry the majority of voters. But what about the massive minorities present in a nation as large as the USA? Witness the long fight that black people have had to achieve basic rights.
6.PACs and 527 groups influence the outcome of elections too much and do much to keep incumbents in power in Congress. They also encourage the outrageous costs of elections and keep poorer candidates out. 7.Huge corporations in the USA like Chrysler have had so many people dependent on them for work that they could influence voter behaviour in many parts of the USA. We call these ‘built in constituencies’. 8.The presence of many different pressure groups makes it hard for politicians to make decisions. Too many people are going to be offended.
10.In 2004 and 2006 so-called 527 groups still got round the stricter finance laws and employed types of ‘soft’ money for federal elections. What was new also was the emergence of many more such groups that had no connection at all with either main political party, such as the Swiftboat veterans for Truth, who sought to undermine Kerry’s campaign in 2004 with a series of critical advertisements relating to his war service. The enormous amounts collected and distributed by 527 groups in 2006 seemed to confirm that no amount of national legislation was going to reduce the overall cost of elections or eliminate the use of soft money. So-called 501(c) groups also figured significantly in the 2008 elections.
9. Groups that scrutinise politicians for public blame, as did the Christian Coalition, undermine the necessary authority that politicians should have.
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