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Mr Pullan US Politics 17-19 > Pressure Groups > Flashcards

Flashcards in Pressure Groups Deck (45):

Roughly how many members does the American Association of Retired People have?

40 million


Roughly how many members does the NRA have?

4 million


Who is Wayne LaPierre?

Head of the NRA


Which PG is "Trump's biggest ally"?



Define pluralism.

Where political power is distributed among a number of groups representing widely different interests.


Define elitism.

Where political power rests with a small, privileged group


What are institutional PGs?

Those which represent organisations and groups.


Give three examples of institutional PGs.

American Business Conference, the Teamsters (truck drivers' union), National Farmers' Union, American Medical Association.


What are membership PGs?

Those which represent individuals rather than organisations.


Give three examples of membership PGs.

NRA; American Conservative Union; Sierra Club; Heritage Foundation (Conservative think tank).


What are the five major functions of PGs?

Representation; Education; Monitoring; Agenda building; Participation. (Mnemonic: REMAP.)


What three reasons might bring someone to join a PG?

Material benefits (what's in it for me?); purposive benefits (what's in it for others?); solidarity benefits (I can join up with like minded people).


What four main methods do PGs use to advance their aims?

Electioneering and endorsement; lobbying; publicity; grassroots activity.


What freebies do you get if you join the NRA?

A heavy-duty duffel bag and a free subscription to a gun-related magazine.


What is the difference between a PAC and a SuperPAC?

PACs are limited to donating $5000 per candidate per campaign, but the money can go directly to the candidate. SuperPACs have no limits on the amount they can spend, but they cannot contribute directly to candidate campaigns or parties.


How much did PACs contribute to the 2015-16 election cycle? Which was the top contributor?

£1.4bn ( in total; top contributor was National Association of Realtors (almost $4m -


Why do PACs tend to give most of their money to incumbents?

Because that gives them the best chance of backing a winner, and therefore getting their agenda raised in Congress.


NARAL and NRL endorsed who in 2016?

NARAL (pro-choice): Clinton. NRL (National Right to Life): Trump.


What are the Dirty Dozen?

The League of Conservation Voters' twelve most environmentally unfriendly Congressmen in areas where LCV voters might be able to unseat them.


How much did 2016's top spending lobbying firm dispense, and who was it?

Akin Gump et al; $36m.


What is significant about the Podesta Group's founder?

His brother is John Podesta, Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff who also ran Hillary's campaign - so it is an incredibly well connected lobbying firm.


Which Senator has never voted in line with AFL-CIO (like our TUC) views?

Ben Sasse, Nebraska.


Why is America such a fertile place for grassroots activity?

There are many access points: devolved power means there is local, state and federal government to lobby, as well as state and federal courts and the executive itself; the congressional committee system.


What is astroturfing, and give an example.

Pretending to have grassroots support when none exists. Western States Petroleum Association is said to have run 14 supposed grassroots consumer associations to exaggerate public support for its member companies (BP, Shell, Exxon).


What five factors determine PG success?

Wealth; organisation and leadership; membership; effectiveness of opposition; achievability of goal).


A 2014 Princeton University survey found what relationship between support for a proposed policy change, and wealth?

Where the proposed change had low support among the wealthy, about one in five, it had about an 18% chance of success. When four in five wealthy people supported a proposed change, the chance of success rose to 45%.


What does EMILY's List stand for and do?

Early Money Is Like Yeast; it campaigns to get more women into elected positions.


What did NARAL and NRL call Neil Gorsuch?

NARAL: "an existential threat to legal abortion." NRL: he will "protect the lives of unborn children."


What is Occupy's slogan?

We are the 99%.


What is the rough membership of standing committees in the House and Senate, and why is it relevant?

40 and 16 respectively; because membership is fairly constant, PGs and lobbyists find it easy to build lasting relationships with members.


What is an amicus brief and why is it relevant?

A report given the court by an "amicus curiae", or someone who is not a party to the lawsuit but who has a strong interest in it. Relevant because it allows PGs or other interested parties to try to sway the court. Obama submitted one in Fisher v Texas, on the side of Texas; NRA submitted one in DC v Heller, in which the SC ruled that a DC law requiring that any handguns kept at home were disassembled was unlawful.


Which PG is particularly active in seeking to influence the Supreme Court?

American Civil Liberties Union.


What were the key terms of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, 2007?

Made the revolving door turn more slowly (Senators cannot lobby Congress for two years after leaving office); prohibited lobbyists giving gifts to congressmen; prohibited the use of private aircraft by Senate, presidential and VP candidates.


What proportion of American Medical Association lobbyists have previously held government jobs?

19 out of 49.


What is an iron triangle?

The strong relationship that can develop between PGs/lobbyists, the relevant congressional committees or figures, and the relevant government department or agency.


Who works on K Street?



What is atomisation?

The idea that the prevalence of PGs campaigning for smallish interest groups can mean lots of small groups campaigning for themselves, with consequent loss of influence.


Complete this phrase from Senator Edward Kennedy: "America has the finest..."

"...Congress that money can buy."


Lee Drutman: "Congress has basically outsourced..."

"...its expertise to the public sector."


Sen Patrick Leahy (D-VT): Neil Gorsuch was...

"Selected by interest groups."


How many, and what type, of people attended the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) annual conference in 2017?

15000; senior people from both parties including Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.


The American Legislative Exchange Council is a conservative group which proposes state-level legislation such as:

Stand Your Ground laws in Florida.


John McCain: only by breaking what will sovereignty be restored?

Iron triangles.


The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign had what effect?

Prevented the opening of 170 coal plants during the GWB years.


Who did the Sierra Club endorse in the 2016 presidential election?