HGov: Outside Lobbying


outside lobbying

Although an interest group may rely solely on inside lobbying, this approach is not likely to be successful unless the group can demonstrate that its concern reflect a vital constituency. Interest groups make use of constituency connections when it is advantageous for them to do so.They engage in outside lobbying, which involves bringing public pressure to bear on policymakers.

One form of outside pressure is grassroots lobbying. The pressure is designed to convince government officials that an interest group’s policy position has popular support. Grassroots lobbying encourages members of the public to contact their elected or appointed officials to ask them to take a certain action. The precise impact of grassroots campaign is difficult to assess. Members of Congress  downplay its importance, but all congressional offices monitor letters, email, and phone calls as a way of tracking constituents’ opinions.

An outside strategy can also include election campaigns. Organized interest groups work to elect their supporters and defeat their opponents. The possibility of electoral opposition from a powerful interest group can keep an officeholder from openly obstructing the group’s goals. The principal way interest groups try to gain influence through elections is by contributing money to a candidates’ campaigns. An interest group’s election contributions are given through its political action committee or PAC.

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