Government and Politics

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American Conservative Union, and Christian Voice were all actively involved in the debate over the nomination of Judge Robert Bork for the Supreme Court. Typically, we think of interest groups as being primarily concerned with regulatory legislation However, as political scientist Barbara Ann Stolz (1981) points out, even the federal criminal code has become a target for interest-group activity Business groups have sought to strike the "reckless endangerment" provision that, in effect, makes it a crime for a business to engage knowingly in conduct that will imperil someone’s life Business interests have also attempted to broaden the criminal code to include certain types of incidents that occur during labor disputes, unions, by contrast, wish to maintain current laws. Interest groups often pursue their political goals through lobbying—the process by which individuals and groups communicate with public officials in order to influence decisions of government.

They also distribute persuasive literature and launch publicity campaigns to build grass roots support for their political objectives Finally, interest groups, through their political action committees, donate funds to political candidates whose views are in line with the groups’ legislative agendas. The role of interest groups within the American political system has generated intense controversy, particularly because of the special relation ships that exist between government officials and lobbyists for interest groups The widespread nature of these ties is evident from the number of former legislators who, after retiring or losing bids for reelection, immediately go on the payroll of interest groups In 1985, there were 300 former lawmakers and former high-level White House officials parlaying their governmental experience into profitable new careers as Washington lawyers, lobbyists, consultants, and administrators .

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