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what is the difference between interest groups and political parties

political parties nominate candidates for office, interest groups dont (interest groups can try to influence the outcome of the election)
political parties try to win elections and control the government
political parties have to be concerned about all public affairs, interest groups usually have a specific focus


why can interest groups be good

raise awareness in public affairs
represent people, regardless of where they live
can provide info to the government as well as educate their members about government policies
allow more people to participate in policies
add a layer to the checks and balances idea (if government does something that the interest groups dont like they will say something)


why can interest groups be bad

not equal in size and influence. some are better known and have more money
its hard to tell how many people an interest group really represents
many interest groups dont reflect the true view of all of their members (perhaps a vocal minority)
some interest groups are corrupt (bribery, money, laundering)


how do interest groups get their messages out

by lobbyist and lobbying
(attempt to affect the decisions and actions of public officials) occurs in washington dc and every state capital


rules to being a lobbyist

any lobbyist who tries to influence a member of congress must me registered with the house and senate
every lobbyist must fully describe their work and must five quarterly reports of their accounts
former members of congress can not become a lobbyist for 2 years
no members of congress can receive a gift from lobbyists or a client


how do lobbyists try to influence congress

sometimes they target specific people in congress but most often they target congressional committees
often provide info ti congress that support their point of view
often testify in front of congressional committees as “experts” in their field
some lobbyists go so far as write legislation and give it to people in congress