Interest Groups and Lobbyists It Term Paper

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The top of the group would be contract lobbyists who have the most information about a particular part of the political process and have close connections with policymakers in that area. They are the most threatening of all the lobbyists because of their sheer influence. They are hired by specific interest groups to further their interests. They are sought for their knowledge in their own interest area. For example education lobbyists are highly sought after for their power and influence in the field of education budget and reforms. They can easily find support for their interests and objectives in every local community. (Rosenthal, 1998, pp.208-209)

Government lobbyists on the other hand are regular federal or state employees connected with some specific agency and their job is to present their concerns and the concerns of their agency in the legislature. One of the primary ways that lobbyists and interest groups can indicate the level of interest is an issue is congressional testimony. Once an interest group has a representative in the Congress, that person can take part in the congressional testimony and speak on any issue of interest. The level of intensity with which it is debated also indicates public's interest in the topic. These testimonies can also act as a catalyst in generating interest as some believe that interest in an issue normally picks up intensity after a testimony and not before it. (Leech et al. 2005)

This shows that we do need interest groups and lobbyists to understand some major problems and issues affecting the economy, society or the public in general.
It can also lead to unnecessary interest or debate but it definitely shows that public can receive sound information and receive education about important policy issues through lobbyists and interest groups.

As long as lobbyists are working within the framework of accepted political process, there is nothing wrong with their existence. They serve a specific purpose. They help interest groups and public opinion to find their voice in the legislature. However it is the underhand tactics they sometimes use that have given lobbyists a bad name and hence they are seen as an unwanted element in the system. The same is true for interest groups who were both given protection by the constitution because a) they had a different purpose then and b) they do help in educating the public, supporting some political campaigns and providing important information to policy makers.

References

Thomas, Clive S., and Ronald L. Hrebenar. 2004. "Interest Groups in the States." in

Politics in the American States, 8th ed. ed. Virginia Gray and Russell L. Hanson.

Washington DC: CQ Press.

Rosenthal, Alan. 1998. The Decline of Representative Democracy. Washington, DC: CQ

Press

Leech, Beth L., Frank R. Baumgartner, Timothy La Pira, and Nicholas a. Semanko. 2005. Drawing Lobbyists to Washington: Government Activity and Interest-Group Mobilization. Political Research Quarterly 58, 1 (March): 19 -- 30.

John M. de Figueiredo, the Timing, Intensity, and Composition of Interest Group Lobbying: An….....

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