Government: Interest Groups

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Special Interest Groups I. Characteristics of special interest groups A. interest group: public/private organization, affiliation or committee that has its goal to spread membership of its viewpoint B. they have common traits and functions that form common goals in affecting public policy making C. how they form: common interest ® formal organization created ® goals defined by a group® lobbyists hired® PACs formed® attempts to influence legislators D. affiliations/ groups function to influence officeholders E. they can attract members from a large geographic are because they have the advocacy or opposition of specific public policies F. groups can provide: ® special information to legislators ® an additional check/balance to legislative system ® some may cause a gridlock in government II. Group Theory A. group theory: explains the context in which interest groups develop B. Three kinds of group activity and examples of each® 1. Pluralism: suggests a centrist position results because there is far more reaching and balancing group representation ® competing groups are healthy b/c it provides choice ® competition prevents monopolization of one group ® groups have different strategies therefore at least one will affect government policy 2.

Hyperpluralism: thinks there are so many opposing groups that gridlock occurs and there is not a clear government ® competition is so powerful that the gov. tries to assuage each ® more groups = more responsive government agencies 3. Elitist: group behavior arising from a higher class ® power is concentrated mostly by richest organizations ® money talks = most influence III. History A. James Madison's views in the Federalist No. 10® 1. development of factions was an inevitable feature of society 2. separation of powers provides enough government protection of interests 3. formation of political parties balanced forming interest groups IV. Mode of operation A. several kinds of interest...