Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Matt Steelsmith

POL 411

Robert X Browning

November 29, 2011


Okay, you've convinced me. Now go out there and bring pressure on me. This was a quote by President Franklin D. Roosevelt dealing with a lobbying issue back in the 1930’s mixed with a business deal. Lobbying has been around for a while now and it creates huge influences within our government system. Have you ever wanted your voice to be heard? That’s exactly what lobbying deals with. The dealing with interests groups and lobbying are very important. This is how the public can convey through these interests groups and lobbyists to see how and what they want Congress to do. Lobbyists play an important role on how the public voices their opinions through interest groups on how they want Congress to act.
Lobbying has been around since the first Congresses. The wide reach of federal policy and Congress’s central role in shaping it motivates many citizens, organized groups, and lobbyists to converge on Washington (Smith, Roberts, and Wielen, p.350). The influence lobbyists can provide is astonishing. They dig in deep and really get their hands dirty when it comes to reaching their goal. Lobbyists have a constitutional right to lobby government officials. Their influence is powerful just because many of these interests group they represent have lots of money to persuade these officials. With this said it could have a powerful effect on getting policy changes. Here is a clip from the C-SPAN video library that can represent his idea.

Their influence with legislators within committees and sub-committees has large affects. If legislators can be influenced, they can bring these influences to change party strategies. They influence their party strategies through participation in party caucuses, committees, and task forces (Smith p. 350). Many opportunities arise and for these opportunities there are interests that citizens want kept. The more complex the legislative process and the more places interests can be protected, the more valuable the experienced lobbyist is to the average citizen (Smith, p.350). Lobbyists can have many different roles on protecting policy reforms they want or other specific roles they want Congress to do. Some even say that lobbyists run the country because they have so much influence. Here is a clip with a caller from Indiana with an opinion on how lobbyists are running the country.

Not only can they be depicted as running the country they also create pressure within the party and party norms are affected and here’s a clip that shows the affects of that.

Lobbyists can be hired through interests groups or they can be representing themselves on their own behalf. No lobbyist is alike and no role they commit is the same. They are truly their own breeds of individuals. They are usually lawyers, former members of congress, university professors, or other members representing local governments. Lobbyists can represent a number of individuals and have connections with many government special interest groups.
Lobbyist groups and organization have grown over that last few decades. The Encyclopedia of Associations listed more than 24,000 organizations in 2010, which marks a roughly 64 percent increase in the number of interest groups since 1980 and an almost 420 percent increase since 1956 (Smith, p.352). With that statistic, you can see how lobbyists have grown to be more influential throughout the decades and how they are becoming more prevalent in society. Almost all big businesses have their own lobbyists working them trying to influence legislator.
Even though lobbyists have much influence in Congress it is considered very controversial. It is thought to be the least understood part of legislator (Smith, P.376). They tend to focus on issues brought up before Congress that otherwise would not be focused on if it weren’t for their interest groups decision. Even though this is what happens normally it is a very important part of reaching out and gaining the opinion of the American people who represent these interest groups and help support them by their own donations. Lobbying is a very integral part of American legislator system and has many impacts, some great and promising, and some controversial in nature betraying a negative effect towards society.

Smith, Steven S., Jason M. Roberts, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen. The American Congress. 7th. Cambridge Univ Pr, 2013. Print.