Simple Civics 101- Special Interest Groups
Special Interest Groups often get a bad rap. Let’s learn about them-who they are, what they do, and why they exist.
Special Interest Groups are composed of like-minded people seeking to advocate for their cause, educate the public, and influence public policy. They work through the political process to promote their goals.
There are several types of Special Interest Groups, like businesses or corporations, or unions or professional associations. There are also government groups that may represent your state or U.S. territory. There are special interests that are based on ideologies like taxes, environmental concerns, or consumer protections.
How do these groups influence government?
-by sending finances to political campaigns
-through political appointees working within an administration
-through lobbyists, who are generally well-connected and/or experienced in the inner workings of government
-through grassroots lobbyists, like those who lobby from their kitchen tables by writing editorials and speaking out publicly
Lobbyists can help craft legislation and may supply a congressman or senator with important information about an issue in their respective states that may influence their vote. Still, your voice and your vote are most important.
Have you ever heard of an amicus brief? This is a third-party legal document presented by experts who may have valuable information or expertise in a particular area. I found there are court strategies that Special Interest groups may use to legally influence policy.
Maybe you don’t like the goals of special interest groups. (That’s why there’s probably a group that promotes your goals. Find them or start one). Many believe that special interest groups corrupt politicians. (Some, but not all do. After all, there are corrupt politicians, too). Perhaps you think that all interest groups stifle the ability of the government to make decisions. (Powerful special interest groups are indeed powerful. But the voice of We the People is even more powerful when we contact our senators and congressmen. No voice is more powerful than ours).
Special interest groups serve as a voice to government leaders. While they have goals and a cause, there are Americans who want those same goals and objectives. So, they support or join those groups. Like I’ve said before, if you can’t find a Special Interest Group representing your concerns, start one. Become involved-or- start a group that is anti-special interests! That’s what liberty is all about. There are a lot of voices out there. Be sure yours is heard.
What if you believe the government would be better off with No Special Interest groups in Washington. I feel that same way when any part of our constitutional republic is used for nefarious purposes. But where there is freedom, there is opposition. That’s why it’s a daily fight to defend freedom. Being willing to legally and ethically stand up for what you believe helps to keep freedom alive.
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.??
Next week in Simple Civics 101, we’ll take a look at election basics.