Interest groups influence government using variants on one of two strategies, the inside game and the outside game. The inside game refers to attempts to persuade government officials through direct inside contact. Another term for the inside game is lobbying. Washington is filled with thousands of lobbyists, covering every imaginable issue and viewpoint. Lobbyists usually work for interest groups, corporations, or law firms that specialize in professional lobbying.
To lobby successfully, interest groups need a great deal of money. Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive cities in America, so simply maintaining an office there can be very costly. Interest groups also pay for meals, trips, and other operational expenses, which can be significant. Money alone does not make an interest group influential, but a lack of money is usually crippling. Lobbyists also need to be reputable because a lobbyist who lies to a member of Congress, for instance, could be shunned or lose clients. Therefore, being honest is in the best interest of lobbyists.
Targets of Lobbying
Lobbyists try to influence officials working in all three branches and in the federal bureaucracy.
Lobbying the Legislative Branch
Interest groups spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to lobby members of Congress on a range of issues. These groups try to affect the legislation being generated in Congress. Sometimes lobbyist speak with congresspeople directly, but lobbyists also testify at congressional hearings. The Senate publishes ethics guidelines to explain the complex federal laws that govern the interaction among congresspeople and lobbyists. Many corporations and foreign countries donate money to interest groups and thus help sponsor lobbyists in Washington.
Lobbying the Executive Branch
Although some lobbyists have direct access to the president, most have access only to the lower levels of the executive branch. Interest groups particularly target regulatory agencies, which have the ability to set policy affecting commerce and trade throughout the country. Some scholars have claimed that lobbying of regulatory agencies has resulted in agency capture, effectively handing control of the agency over to the industries it was intended to regulate.
Lobbying the Judicial Branch
Interest groups work to influence the courts in a number of ways. Interest groups often file amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs, presenting an argument in favor of a particular issue. Sometimes interest groups file lawsuits against the government or other parties. For example, the NAACP worked for years to bring civil rights cases to the Supreme Court. The American Civil Liberties Union also makes extensive use of the courts.
Lobbying And Politics Essay
Dating back many decades, it appears that lobbying and politics have always gone hand and hand on any political stage. Lobbying has always had a strong presence in the legislation system. Lobbying is the process of offering campaign contributions, bribes, or information to policymakers for the purpose of achieving favorable policy outcomes. Conventional wisdom suggests that lobbying is the preferred mean for exerting political influence in rich countries and corruption in poor countries. The legislation is meant to benefit society and ensure that citizens are having their voices heard, instead of hindering them in favour of the multi-national corporations. Lobbying has a negative influence on legislations in both developed and developing countries as it; only benefits major corporations, proves to be harmful to innocent civilians, and corrupts developing governments. Although there are corporations that utilize lobbying for good, due to the actions of the major corporations that use lobbying, it is evident that it corrupts the political process.
Lobbying doesn’t benefit anyone but the big corporations that participate in it. All businesses have the goal to maximize their profits. If there are restrictions or regulations that hinder the opportunity to maximize their profits, then they will try to find a loophole or another way out of their situation. This potentially turns to bribes or other methods to achieve their goal. Distinctly, many of the top corporations in the US have utilized millions in lobbying to save billions in taxes. According to a 2010 study by the Daylight Foundation, which compared tax data to the relationship of increases in lobbying to the decreases in real taxes paid for corporations (Sager, 2012). Between 2007 and 2009, the top 8 lobbying spenders (Exxon Mobil, Verizon, GE, AT&T, Altria, Amgen, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing) spent approximately $540 million in lobbying; by 2010, these companies had seen a reduction in taxes of approximately $11 billion (Sager, 2012). This is astonishing as it benefited these companies as they saved hundreds of millions from taxes. This hinders the political process as it then causes an issue for the citizens as tax revenue from the lobbyers decrease, it leads to taxes being increased on everybody else. Among Fortune 100 companies, the ten that lobbied most in 2010 paid an average effective tax rate of 17%; the 80 that lobbied least paid an average of 26% (The Economist, 2014). Tax revenue is required by any government to be able to operate. In addition to tax increases on others, a reduction in overall spending and services by the government can be used to compensate for tax cuts obtained by the corporations who lobby. If in this situation of lobbied tax cuts, the government wants to sustain its spending, while not increasing taxes or the government, it is able to use debt in order to operate. Although this helps in the short time-period, the long-term affects can negatively affect the...
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