Interest groups and lobbying | Political participation | US government and civics | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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April 10, 2018
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Khan Academy
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Interest groups and lobbying | Political participation | US government and civics | Khan Academy

TL;DR

Interest groups are organizations that advocate for specific issues in public policy, using various tactics to influence lawmakers and government officials.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the role of interest groups in the iron triangle?

Interest groups are one of the three components of the iron triangle, alongside Congress and bureaucracy. They influence each other, with interest groups providing electoral support and other benefits to members of Congress in exchange for favorable policies and oversight.

Q: How do interest groups try to influence legislation?

Interest groups employ lobbyists who meet with congresspeople or their staff to influence the introduction of bills and the voting decisions of congress members. Lobbyists use various tactics, such as providing information, arguments, and even financial support to promote their preferred policies.

Q: What are some examples of influential interest groups in the United States?

Major interest groups in the United States include the AFL-CIO, which advocates for labor-friendly policies; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which promotes business-friendly policies; the NAACP, which focuses on minority rights; the National Rifle Association, which advocates for gun rights; the American Medical Association, which carries influence due to the expertise of its physician members; and the American Association for Retired Professionals, which represents the interests of retirees.

Q: How do interest groups allocate their funds?

Interest groups allocate their funds in various ways, including lobbying, voter education, legal funds, direct candidate or party support, and advertising. Only a portion of their budgets may be directed towards directly lobbying lawmakers.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Interest groups are part of the iron triangle, along with Congress and bureaucracy, showing how these parties can influence each other in public policy.

  • Interest groups can support members of Congress through various means, such as voting, advertising, and financial support, in exchange for friendly legislation and oversight.

  • Major interest groups in the United States include the AFL-CIO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP, the National Rifle Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Association for Retired Professionals.

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