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AP U.S. Government and Politics Notes- Chapter 16 Chapter 16 Identifications

Interest Groups: Organized groups that try to influence public policy

David Truman: One of the first political scientists to study interest groups. Posed disturbance theory: theory that interest groups form in part to counteract the efforts of other groups. Government’s role in managing competing groups is to balance their conflicting demands.

Public Interest Groups (e): Organizations that seek a collective good that will not selectively and materially benefit group members (ex. Common Cause, peace groups).

Economic Interest Groups (e): A group with the primary purpose of promoting the financial interest of its members. Ex. AFL-CIO, AMA

Political Action Committees (PACs): Federally mandated, officially registered fund-raising committees that represent interest groups in the political process.

Groups: in concept chart

Lobbyist: Interest groups representative who seeks to influence legislation that will benefit his or her organization through political persuasion.

Lobbying: The activities of a group or organization that seeks to influence legislation and persuade political leaders to support the group's position.

Lobbying Disclosure Act: Employs a strict definition of lobbyist- One who devotes at least 20% of a client's or employer's time to lobbying activities. Also, it requires lobbyists to:
1. Register with the clerk of the House and the secretary of the senate.
2. Report their clients and issues and the agency or house they lobbied.
3. Estimate the amount they are paid by each client.

Ethics in Government Act: Passed in the wake of Watergate in 1978. Its key provisions were:
1. Financial Disclosure: The president, vice president, and top-ranking executive employees must file annual public financial disclosure reports that list: the source and amount of all earned income (stocks, bonds, investments, debts, source of spouses income), and, any position or offices held in any business, labor, or non profit organizations
2. Employment after government services: Former executive branch employees may not: represent anyone before an agency for two years after leaving government service on matters that came within the former employee's sphere or responsibility (even if they were not personally involved in the matter) OR Represent anyone on any matter before their former agency for one year after leaving it, even if the former employees had no connection with the matter while in government.

Amicus Curiae Briefs: “Friend of the court'; a third party to a lawsuit who files a legal brief for the purpose of raising additional points of view in an attempt to influence a court's decision.

Grassroots Lobbying: a form of pressure-group activity that attempts to involve individuals who contact their representatives directly in an attempt to affect public policy.

E.E. Schattschneider: political scientist who wrote “Pressure politics is essentially the politics of small groups... Pressure tactics are not remarkably successful in mobilizing general interests.” He was correct; historically, corporate interests often prevail over the concerns of public interest groups such as environmentalists.

Collective good: Something of value that cannot be withheld from a nonmember of a group, for example, a tax write-off or a better environment.

Free rider problem: Potential members fail to join a group because they can get the benefit, or collective good, sought by the group without contributing to the effort.