Eastern Gateway College Lesso

How do we regulate interest groups and lobbying activity? What are the goals of these regulations? Do you think these regulations achieve their objectives? Why or why not? If you could alter the way we regulate interest group activity and lobbying, how might you do so in a way consistent with the Constitution and recent Supreme Court decisions? Respond to at least 2 other students’ posts.

Chapter 10 Learning Objectives:

10.5 Free Speech and the Regulation of Interest Groups

• Identify the various court cases, policies, and laws that outline what interest groups can and
cannot do
• Evaluate the arguments for and against whether contributions are a form of freedom of speech

Remember to incorporate the course readings to form a foundation for your responses. Additionally, you must properly cite the course text (Krutz, 2020, page number). Consult the Discussion Grading Guidelines for additional details. 

First peer below

Lawmakers rely on special interest groups to get an idea on what is on the mind of the people. Special interest groups rely on lawmakers to get laws and policies that will benefit their members in the best way. Lobbying is the method that interest groups use to get their message to the members of Congress that they need the most. Lobbying is protected under the freedom of speech and right to assembly clause of the first amendment. Lobbying requires payments in the forms of campaign dollars and that’s where regulation is required.

Regulations have been established and changed several times over the years. In 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act limited candidates for President and Vice President and their families to how much they could contribute to their campaigns. It did allow for PAC money and required public disclosure. The Federal Election Campaign Act was amended in 1974 to include candidates for Congress but the amended law banned the transfer of union, corporate, and trade associations money to parties for distribution to campaigns. The supreme court upheld the right of Congress to regulate contributions to candidates with Buckley v Valeo (1976) but at the same time overturned restrictions on expenditures (Krutz, 2020, p. 392)

Is lobbying entitled to free speech protection? The Supreme Court has said that interest groups are expressing their freedom of speech by donating to campaigns. Two cases, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission have won in favor of unrestricted campaign donations from unions, corporations, and trades without aggregate limits. (Krutz, 2020, p.393) In reality, these cases caused what achievement was made to back pedal. Lobbying has become more active. Once again, interest groups with the largest wallets will have the loudest voice.

Lobbyists still have rules and regulations that they must follow. Not following the law by not registering or not disclosing expenditures carry still penalties like fines, being banned from lobbying and possible prison time. The Federal Election Commission must be a better watchdog for corruptness. Limitations should be placed on the number of lobbyists per interest group. One thing I would like to see changed is the amount of time increased between leaving office and joining the lobby pool. 

Second peer below

The federal government places limits on contributions to candidates and their campaigns. However, in the case of Buckley v. Valeo (1976), while the supreme court upheld those limits, they overturned the restrictions on expenditures by candidates (Krutz, 2020, 392.) Basically, the supreme court said that while there are limits on what can be donated, if the candidate has it, they can spend it. There was a loophole in this policy, referred to as soft money, for the grassroots voter registration drives that said that interest groups could spend money on behalf of the candidates and they used that to get around the limits on donations to a campaign. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act sponsored by McCain and Feingold in 2002 banned the soft-money loophole. However, in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the courts overturned the ban on soft money (Krutz, 2020, 392.) The supreme court also helped strike down aggregate contribution limits on total contributions allowed in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission citing that campaign expenditures are a form of speech and are allowed under the first amendment (Krutz, 2020, 392.)

There are regulations in place for lobbyists in the United States as well. Both federal and state governments have restrictions in place for interest groups and lobbyists. Policies like The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 are in place to ensure transparency amongst lobbyists. Aside from having to register the group with the government before being allowed to lobby, no compensation can be given to lobbyists, limits on how much money lobbyists can spend on lobbying lawmakers are in place, along with requiring disclosures about the amount of money being spent. Contact between members of Congress and lobbyists that are married to other members of Congress is prohibited (Krutz, 2020, 394.) President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting members of the executive branch from accepting gifts from lobbyists. This order also kept any member from participating in any matter that involved a former client or employer within a two-year time frame (Krutz, 2020, 394.) There are penalties like fines, being banned from lobbying, or prison time for violating these laws and requirements. 


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Eastern Gateway College Lesso

Is it possible for a serious third party to emerge in the United States, positioned ideologically between the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right? Why or why not? Respond to at least 2 other students’ posts.

Chapter 9 Learning Objectives:

  • Compare plurality and proportional representation
    • Describe the institutional, legal, and social forces that limit the number of parties

Remember to incorporate the course readings to form a foundation for your responses. Additionally, you must properly cite the course text (Krutz, 2020, page number). Consult the Discussion Grading Guidelines for additional details.

Please reply by 7/7/2021 so I can send you my peers post.

First peer below

While I believe a third party is possible, the Libertarian Party supports many Republican Party ideals. I am not sure it is realistic currently. Because of the high costs that are needed, it would limit funding for their candidate. Even when voters think of themselves as independent, Gallup polling research shows the majority still lean towards one specific party or another. Sometimes parties need to recognize the shift in social views or find themselves in a party realignment and lose voters. (Krutz, 2019, pgs. 343, 346, and 355)

Other countries such as Britain and Canada have multiple parties and use a “winner-take-all plurality system” just the same as the United States. A two-party system is part of our history. Even at the beginning of our political system, there were only two major parties and they were the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans (Krutz, 2019, pg. 338)

One way to have more than two parties is by using the proportional representation system. This means that voters would vote for a particular party that they align themselves with, and the party would vote for them. The problem with this is that the party would vote for the candidate and not the individual voter. (Krutz, 2019, pgs. 336 and 337)

Because the electoral votes ultimately decide the winner, a third party would need to win in several states to have a chance of winning at the polls. Another reason for the lack of a third party is thought to be due to our “relative prosperity” and the “unity of our citizens.” Most ethnic groups still are not represented by the government to address their specific concerns. (Krutz, 2019, pg. 339)

Finally, local election laws can keep a candidate running on a third-party ticket out of the race. These laws make it easy for existing parties to get their candidate in the race, but third-party candidates must get thousands of voters to sign a petition to get on the ballot. (Krutz, 2019, pg. 339)

I am afraid that money, politics, and laws will keep the third party from emerging any time soon, but I hope someday it will. 

Second peer below

Hello Classmates.

Chapter 9 Discussion

Is it possible for a serious third party to emerge in the United States, positioned ideologically between the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right?

I do not think a severe third party can emerge in the United States, positioned ideologically between the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right. They both are powerful parties. The only thing that third parties do is take votes away from the party they’re more closely aligned with. As the book states, I feel that the third party is born out of people being upset about what is going on in the United States.

“Third parties, often born of frustration with the current system, attract supporters from one or both existing parties during an election but fail to attract enough votes to win. After the election is over, supporters experience remorse when their least-favorite candidate wins instead. “(Krutz, 2020, page number 337)”.

Here is another example of how they have tried for a third party, and it did not work back then.

“The other third party, the States’ Rights Democrats, also known as the Dixiecrats, were white, southern Democrats who split from the Democratic Party when Harry Truman, who favored civil rights for African Americans, became the party’s nominee for president. The Dixiecrats opposed all attempts by the federal government to end segregation, extending voting rights, prohibit discrimination in employment, or otherwise promote social equality among races. They remained a significant party that threatened Democratic unity throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Other examples of third parties in the United States include the American Independent Party, the Libertarian Party, United We Stand America, the Reform Party, and the Green Party. None of these alternatives to the two major political parties had much success at the national level.” “(Krutz, 2020, page number 335)”.

“At various points in the past 170 years, elites and voters have sought to create alternatives to the existing party system. Political parties that are formed as alternatives to the Republican and Democratic parties are known as third parties or minor parties. In 1892, a third party known as the Populist Party formed in reaction to what its constituents perceived as the domination of U.S. society by big business and a decline in the power of farmers and rural communities. The Populist Party called for the regulation of railroads, an income tax, and the popular election of U.S. senators, who at this time were chosen by state legislatures and not by ordinary voters.” “(Krutz, 2020, page number 332)”.

“Various third parties, also known as minor parties, have appeared in the United States over the years. Some, like the Socialist Party, still exist in one form or another. Others, like the Anti-Masonic Party, which wanted to protect the United States from the influence of the Masonic fraternal order and garnered just under 8 percent of the popular vote in 1832, are gone.” “(Krutz, 2020, page number 333)”.

If you look at what this is talking about and think about what has happened in the last few elections where there was a third party, you can see the other parties picked up on what was being said and added to their campaign.

“Thus, the third party rival’s principal accomplishment was helping its least-preferred major party win, usually at the short-term expense of the very issue it championed. In the long run, however, many third parties have brought important issues to the attention of the major parties, which then incorporated these issues into their platforms. Understanding why this is the case is an important next step in learning about the issues and strategies of the modern Republican and Democratic parties.” “(Krutz, 2020, page number 335)”.

Why do we have two parties?

“The two-party system came into being because the structure of U.S. elections, with one seat tied to a geographic district, tends to lead to dominance by two major political parties. Even when there are other options on the ballot, most voters understand that minor parties have no real chance of winning even a single office. Hence, they vote for candidates of the two significant parties in order to support a potential winner.” “(Krutz, 2020, page number 335).”

Hope was one is having a great week,

Kathy 


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