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Analyse Why Some Us Pressure Groups Are More Successful Than Others In Achieving Their Aims And Objectives.

1336 words - 5 pages

Analyse why some US pressure groups are more successful than others in achieving their aims and objectives.Lawrence Liu 13APressure groups are organised groups of like-minded individuals who campaign for their own interests and/or to achieve goals or pursue common causes that they wish to promote. They seek to influence public policy by gaining access to decision makers who have power. Therefore, compared to parties, pressure groups represent narrower interests and have narrower aims, do not put up candidates in elections and do not seek or take responsibility for government. However, not all pressure groups are successful. In order to succeed in gaining access to decision makers, Pressure groups need a range of resources, ranging from expertise to money.It can be argued that money is a prominent feature in giving pressure groups a foothold to get their voice heard within government. As with most things in US politics, although unorthodox, money speaks volume. Groups raise money to try to gain access to elected politicians through financial contributions to their campaigns, either through PAC's, or by 'spending behalf of' candidates. Political Action Committee (PAC) are the financial arms of pressure groups which are set up to raise campaign funds and channel them to support or oppose candidates in electoral candidates. The expansion in PACs took place following the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) in 19474 which restricted fund-raising from organisations and 'fat cats', leaving a funding gap to be filled. The impact of the reforms limited spending in Primaries, Caucuses, State conventions and General Elections, as well as controlling the amount of hard money donated to candidates to $5000. However, the PAC's 'bundled' these contributions to increase the sum given and effectively were given money for 'issue advocacy' to advertise on behalf of candidates. The impact of PAC's on the electoral process is therefore reflected by the millions of dollars raised and spent by groups, and therefore vital in a close race. For instance, it is argued that members of Congress will not speak out against powerful interest groups such as the NRA or the pro-Israel lobby, as they are afraid of being targeted for defeat. The impact of money therefore shows how a group's funding is a major factor in determining their success, as wealthier pressure groups are often able to exercise more influence through the media and donations to, and on the behalf of political candidates.Furthermore, the idea of money also reflect the success of a pressure group as wealthy pressure groups can hire professional lobbyists to make links with members of Congress in order to try to influence their voting in committees. For instance, in 1999, $1.45 billion was spent on lobbying activities, in which the lobbying industry grew by 7% Specifically, key figures include former members of Congress, who may pass through the 'revolving door' widely perceived as linking service in Congress with...

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