Interest Groups 'Special' Interest Group Term Paper

Total Length: 854 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

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One of Common Cause's most passionate and popular causes is campaign finance reform. Common Cause practices what it preaches -- it is almost entirely funded by the often small, individual donations of its members. It is proud that one of the bills it has been promoting for many years was finally passed with substantial bipartisan support, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, "the most significant campaign reform bill in a generation, banning political parties from raising and spending soft money" ("About Us, "2007, Common Cause). While it was founded by a single individual, a Republican named John Gardener, the organization has been responsive to issues of immediate social concern that have stretched far beyond its founder's initial vision. This runs counter to Turman and Salisbury's suggestion that the entrepreneurial theory of interest groups best explains the creation groups that are founded by a single activist to further an ideological aim.

Instead, disturbance theory, the idea that interest groups give voice to people who feel they are voiceless better applies to Common Cause. The initial members of the group were largely anti-Vietnam activists, but today the group supports a variety of efforts, including civil rights and openness in government laws. Many individuals have found a 'home' in Common Cause over the years, from liberals who wished to hold powerful chief executives and corporate-funded politicians accountable, from libertarians wishing to fight against big government, and even anti-government conservatives wishing to fight against the power of local, political machines.
Common Cause has been criticized as a liberal organization, because it has fought against media consolidation, in favor of net neutrality, and in support of public broadcasting, as public broadcasting does not carry partisan or corporate advertising ("Media & Democracy," 2007, Common Cause). But Common Cause supports laws that all ordinary Americans can benefit from, laws that only 'hurt' politicians of all parties that thrive on money from big donors. For example, of its first great successes was its support of a 1974 law "establishing public financing for presidential campaigns, setting limits on contributions to all federal candidates and requiring disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures," a bill that affected Republicans and Democrats alike ("About Us, "2007, Common Cause).

Works Cited

About Us." (2007). Common Cause. Retrieved 30 Jul 2007 at http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=189955

Interest Groups." (2007). The Social Studies Help Center. Retrieved 30 Jul 2007 at http://www.socialstudieshelp.com/APGOV_Interest_Groups.htm

Media & Democracy." (2007). Common Cause. Retrieved 30 Jul 2007 at http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=191982.....

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