Lobbying: Who Lobbies for What? And At What Cost?
In the lectures, we’ve discussed that outside interests, such as corporations or interest groups, can lobby legislators about specific topics. These outside interests often spend considerable amounts of money on this lobbying activity, but we don’t have evidence that this activity leads to “buying votes” or any direct influence over policy outcomes. What we do know is that outside interests often provide legislators with information about specific issues, thereby aiding the legislators in doing their work. They do this in the hope that they might convince them of their point of view on a particular issue.
All of this information is somewhat abstract, and you may be wondering: who are these outside interests, and what are they lobbying for? This is what we’ll be exploring with this response assignment. Using the website OpenSecrets.org (Links to an external site.), you’ll be investigating lobbying activity and spending by outside interests. OpenSecrets is a website maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group that tracks money in American politics. They provide unbiased information about the role of money in politics and policy, from campaign contributions to lobbying information.
Go to the Issues page on OpenSecrets.org : https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/top-issues
Why do you think some issues see a lot more lobbying activity than others?
Pick an issue area that interests you, click on it, and scroll down to the list of clients that lobbied on it in 2021. Choose at least one client you’ve heard of and one you haven’t heard of.
What category of interest group do the clients you’ve chosen fall into? (Company, trade association, citizen advocacy, etc.)
Why do you think these organizations might be invested in the issue you’ve chosen to look at? Think creatively on this one!
If you click on each client, the profile allows you to see more about their activity.
Have they been more active in some years than in others?
What other issues have they lobbied on?
Is the issue you’ve selected one of their main priorities?
Take a look at the bills they’ve lobbied on. Next to each bill is the number of reports they had to file on their lobbying activity for that bill. Pick one or two bills for each interest group you’ve chosen and click on the report number next to them.
Can you learn anything more about what their interest in the bill is based on the descriptions of the reports?
When you open the reports themselves, what kind of information do they contain?
What kind of information do they omit?
Remember, while you may be tempted to provide purely factual answers to some of these questions, what we really want to see is your analysis of the information you’re looking at! Don’t just provide a one sentence answer to each of these questions. Spend some time thinking about how lobbying works and what it means. Use ideas from the text to help you develop your responses!
Nuts and Bolts of the Assignment
Submit a response that approximately 1000 words long (give or take 50 words).
At the top of your paper should be your name, the course name and number, and the title of your paper. Nothing more, nothing less.
Papers must be typed, and should have the following:
12-point Times New Roman font (this includes periods, spaces, etc.);
Page numbers (bottom center or bottom right).
Not adhering to these conventions will lead to points being deducted.
Please include a list of references (any sources the assignment asks you to use as well as any outside sources you’ve drawn from) at the end of the essay on a separate page. Your citations are not included in your word count. Use APA formatting for your citations. You can find a guide to APA formatting here: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_articles_in_periodicals.html
Grammar, Diction, and Spelling
Prose must be grammatically correct, with proper usage, and some attention to style. If you wish to argue persuasively, you must write in language that your reader will easily understand. Proofreading and spell checks are expected; a poorly executed and careless paper displays the author’s disrespect for the reader. If you anticipate any problems in this domain, you should feel encouraged to seek the assistance of the Write Site. You can find more information online, at The Write Site: https://twu.edu/write-site/
Don’t do it. Just don’t. It is absolutely not worth the risk. All responses will be checked using Turnitin. If you’re not sure what the rules are when it comes to plagiarism, check out these tips on avoiding it.
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