A term used by the founders of this country to refer to political parties and special interests or interest groups.
A collection of people who share some common interest or attitude and seek to influence government for specific ends. Interest groups usually work within the framework of government and employ tactics such as lobbying to achieve their goals.
A large body of people interested in a common issue, idea, or concern that is of continuing significance and who are willing to take action. Movements seek to change attitudes or institutions, not just policies.
A company with a labor agreement under which union membership cannot be required as a condition of employment.
A company with a labor agreement under which union membership can be a condition of employment.
An individual who does not join a group representing his or her interests yet receives the benefit of the influence the group achieves.
Official document, published every weekday, that lists the new and proposed regulations of executive departments and regulatory agencies.
amicus curiae brief
Literally, a "friend of the court" brief, filed by an individual or organization to present arguments in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case.
Engaging in activities aimed at influencing public officials, especially legislators, and the policies they enact.
A person who is employed by an acts for an organized interest group or corporation to try to influence policy decisions and positions in the executive and legislative branches.
Employment cycle in which individuals who work for government agencies regulating interests eventually end up working for interest groups or business with the same policy concern.
political action committee (PAC)
The political arm of an interest group that is legally entitled to raise funds on a voluntary basis from members, stockholders, or employees in order to contribute funds to favored candidates or political parties.
A tactic of political action committees whereby they collect contributions from like-minded individuals (each limited to $2,000) and present them to a candidate or political party as a "bundle," thus increasing their influence.
The Supreme Court has ruled that individuals, groups, and parties can spend unlimited amounts in campaigns for or against candidates as long as they operate independently from the candidates. When an individual, group, or party does so, they are making an independent expenditure.
Political contributions given to a party, candidate, or interest group that are limited in amount and fully disclosed. Raising such limited funds is harder than raising unlimited funds, hence the term "hard money."
Money raised in unlimited amounts by political parties for party-building purposes. Now largely illegal except for limited contributions to state and local parties for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts.
Unlimited and undisclosed spending by an individual or group on communications that do not use words like "vote for" or "vote against," although much of this activity is actually about electing or defeating candidates.
A political group organized under section 527 of the IRS Code that may accept and spend unlimited amounts of money on election activities so long as they are not spent on broadcast ads run in the last 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election where a clearly identified candidate is referred to and a relevant electorate is targeted. 527 groups were important to the 2000 and 2004 elections.
quid pro quo
Something given with the expectation of receiving something in return.
Political system in which power is distributed among multiple groups.
American Farm Bureau Federation
Powerful labor union.
Labor union known for renegotiating contracts.
Chambers of Commerce
Unions of corporations and business interests.
ABA / AMA
American Bar Association (attorneys) and American Medical Association (doctors). Professional interest groups.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - nontraditional protest group
National Organization of Women - nontraditional protest group
AIDS coalition - nontraditional protest group
Right to Life
Pro-life single issue group.
National Rifle Association. Single issue group.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Single issue group.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Single issue group.
Group founded by Ralph Nader for consumer support and open government.
Environmental action public interest group.
League of Women Voters
Public interest group for women.
Non-profit groups which are tax exempt and cannot participate in elections or campaigns.
Powerful ideological evangelical interest group.
American Civil Liberties Union (ideological interest group).
Liberal think-tank ideological interest group.
Libertarian think-tank ideological interest group.
Conservative think-tank ideological interest group.
National Governors' Association
Government interest group of all of the state governors.
Maricopa Association of Governments
Government interest groups of cities in Maricopa county.
Lawsuits used to achieve a purpose.
Procedure whereby a certain number of voters may, by petition, propose a law or constitutional amendment and have it submitted to the voters.
Procedure for submitting to popular vote measures passed by the legislature or proposed amendments to a state constitution.
Procedure for submitting to popular vote the removal of officials from office before the end of their term.
A mutually dependent relationship among interest groups, congressional committees and subcommittees, and government agencies that share a common policy concern.
Unified lobbying from groups.
Lobbying from the ground-up.
Lobbying from online sources.
1946 Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act
Required lobbyist registration and disclosure but full of loopholes.
Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995
Tightened up registration and disclosure requirements, restricted gifts, meals, expense-paid travel, restricted the revolving door.
Limits on what individuals can give but not on PACs.