Get Involved: Go Online

Learn about Lobbying

Inform Yourself

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What counts as an interest group? The number of interest groups and lobbyists has grown dramatically over the last 50 years. There is no central database of all these groups, but a relatively complete list is available at http://pag.vancouver.wsu.edu. Click on a few of the categories and see what groups are listed there. Do any of them surprise you as being classified as an interest group?
2. Consider the example of professional sports interest groups. The groups that lobby government are diverse. In professional sports, there are unions representing players, staff, and referees; there are corporations that run the teams; there are leagues themselves—each of these entities also lobbies the government for favorable policies. Check out the report. What organization is the top spender in 2011?

Express Yourself

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Watch a video on the pros and cons of lobbying. The American League of Lobbyists has created a video arguing that lobbying is beneficial to American politics. Watch it at: www.alldc.org/video.cfm, then compare what the first video argues with the factual information from the video available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2DUM6jVasw. Share your opinion on what you learn.
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Are current regulations on lobbying strong enough? Explore how heavily regulated lobbyists are in Washington, D.C., today at: www.voanews.com/content/lobbyingregulated-to-prevent-abuse-in-us-101407789/174277.html. Do you think lobbyists are regulated enough, or should we take further action against their influence? Contact your members of Congress to let them know your views.
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Connect with Others

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Connect with interest groups. A small sample of the groups on Facebook include AARP, MADD, the NRA, NOW, and the National Chamber of Commerce. Visit the Facebook pages of these groups (they all have Twitter pages as well) or find others that interest you. Find a post by one of the groups and join in the discussion. Did you find a membership group whose goals you share?

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