HGov: Lobbying

Interest groups seek support through lobbying, which refers to efforts by groups to influence public policy through contact with public officials. The two main lobbying strategies are labeled inside lobbying and outside lobbying. Each strategy involves communication between pubic officials and group lobbyists, but the strategies differ in what is communicated and who does the communicating.

Inside lobbying is based on interest group efforts to develop and maintain close contacts with policymakers. It is designed to give an interest group direct access to officials in order to influence their decisions. Access is not the same as influence, which is the capacity to affect policy decisions. Using an inside strategy, lobbyists develop direct contacts with legislators, government bureaucrats, and members of the judiciary in order to persuade them to accept the interest group’s perspective on policy.

Interest groups use two policy processes – iron triangles and issue networks – to obtain influence. An iron triangle consists of a small and informal but relatively stable set of bureaucrats, legislators, and lobbyists who seek to develop policies beneficial to a particular interest. Iron triangles represent the pattern of influence in only certain policy areas and are less common now than in the past. A more frequent pattern of influence today is the issue network, which is an informal grouping of officials, lobbyists, and policy specialists who are brought together temporarily by their shared interest in a particular policy issue. Unlike an iron triangle, the issue network would dissolve once the issue was resolved.

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.

9.2 Inside Lobbying: Seeking Influence through Official Contacts (read pp.288-300)

Econ: Chapter 6 Review

Chapter 6 Review:
change in supply or demand and change in equilibrium, equilibrium price, equilibrium quantity, surplus, shortage, price floor, price ceiling

Chapters 5-6 Quiz – tomorrow 11/1


HGov: Health Care LPA

Learning Target: Identify, research, and clarify an issue of significance to our government by gathering, using, and evaluating researched information to support analysis and conclusion.

Jon Pelfreman investigates the health care system in the United States and searches for some answers to its many problems. Sick Around America lays bare the flaws in our system and examines the critical choices Americans face in changing a system that all sides agree needs a fundamental overhaul.

In Sick Around the World, T.R. Reid examines the healthcare systems of other advanced capitalist democracies to see what ideas might help the U.S. reform its broken healthcare system.

In this ABC News program 20/20, John Stossel examines the insurance industry, the need for competition among care providers, and the possibility of combining lower costs with better medicine.

Chapters 7 and 8 Quiz in Edmodo – due Monday 10/31


Econ: Chapter 5 Review

Chapter 5 Review
demand, law of demand, demand determinants, quantity demanded v demand, elasticity of demand, supply, law of supply, supply determinants, quantity supplied v supply, elasticity of supply


HGov: Interest Groups

Interest Groups3
Americans join all kinds of groups that reflect their interests. When such groups seek to influence government, at any level, they are called special-interest groups or special interests. The term special interest refers to a particular goal or set of goals that unites the members of a group.

There are thousands of interest groups in the United   States. Although they differ in many respects, their basic goal is the same: they all try to persuade elected officials to take actions to support their interests. Special-interest groups fall into several categories, depending on their membership and goals. Americans join interest groups for various reasons. Some join for the information and benefits the groups offer. Many interest groups publish newsletters and host workshops and conferences for members. Some offer training that helps members qualify for higher-paying jobs.

All interest groups need both money and people, but they are organized and financed in many ways. Most interest groups have an elected board of directors or trustees who set policy and decide how the group’s resources will be used. Many groups have both national and state chapters, each led by their own boards or trustees. Funding methods vary among interest groups. Many economic and single-issue groups get most of their operating expenses from dues, membership fees, and direct mail fundraising campaigns. Some public interest groups get their primary funding from foundations or government grants.

Chapter 7&8 Quiz I in Edmodo – due Monday 10/31
9.1 The Interest-Group System (read pp.277-287)


Econ: Supply and Demand Poster Presentation

Each student will explain three of their assigned poster graphs. The explanation will follow this format:

  • Identify the product market.
  • Present the headline.
  • Explain what changed (supply or demand) and why (shifter).
  • What happened to the equilibrium price?
  • What happened to the equilibrium quantity?


HGov: Current Events

current events11



Period 4: Gun Control

Period 7: Wikileak Email