Write a 2,500-word in-depth exploration of a specific interest group and submit it as an attached document here. The subject of this report must be an interest group that is active in the United States today, but the specific group studied is up to you. NOTE: The 2,500-word count is a suggestion, not an absolute requirement. Assignments that fall within 500 points (2,000 to 3,000 words) are an acceptable length. See the additional instructions below.
Please follow these formatting conventions:
Put this 3-line heading at the top of the page against the left-hand margin on the first page:
The semester and the name of the assignment
The assignment due date
Lucinda A. Potter
Spring 2018 POLS317 Interest Group Analysis Paper
April 29, 2018
Use a standard true-type font in 12 point size with typical/average/default margins and one and a half (1½) line spacing. Number the pages in the upper right-hand corner beginning with the second page (page 2). Do not number the first page. A cover sheet is unnecessary.
Failing to follow these formatting conventions will result in a 5-point reduction (the equivalent of ½ of a letter grade) in the overall grade for the assignment.
Spelling and grammar count. This assignment is not a pure op-ed (opinion) piece; the paper/essay must include evidence that you have done the research and understand the concepts. Do not copy directly from any materials, and keep direct quotes to a minimum. Rather, answer in your own words to illustrate that you fully understand the material. Cite the sources for any materials you use. See the additional instructions below.
The paper must include these sections and must address all of the following questions:
• What is the official name of the interest group?
• Where is the “home base” (main headquarters) for the interest group?
• When, where and why was it founded? Who founded it?
• Where are the headquarters?
• Are there local and state chapters?
• Who is the current President of the group?
• What is the size of their staff? What does the staff do?
• What is the purpose, issue, or main concern of the interest group?
• Explore the interest group’s web site. Describe the interest group’s website. What are they trying to accomplish with their website (i.e. Are they trying to recruit members? pressure Congress? publicize their cause? other?)?
• Who are members (individuals or other organizations or both)?
• What is the size of their membership?
• Are there dues, or do they ask for donations? What are the membership dues per year (if applicable)?
• What sorts of people belong?
• Are there tangible or material incentives to belong?
• What does the interest group do for its members (member services)? In other words, why would someone want to join this group?
Mission and Goals
• What is the group’s mission?
• What is the group’s brief history, including why the group formed and the age of the group?
• What cause(s) does/do its members support? What change(s) does the group pursue and why? What are its goals?
• What are the main ways they promote their agenda?
• What is their total annual budget?
• How much money do they raise and how do they raise it?
• How is the money allocated (where does it go)?
• How much time do they spend directly lobbying Congress or the agencies?
• Do they use a public relations or law firm?
• Do they work with particular members of Congress or particular people in a government agency?
• Do they lobby on the state and local level?
• Do they use the courts?
• Do they use grassroots lobbying techniques?
• Which form of lobbying do they use most often?
• Who is their chief lobbyist?
• What is your evaluation of their lobbying activities?
• Is it a partisan group? If so, what is their political persuasion (right, left, centrist, other)? If this group is politically neutral, say so. Explain how and why you reach this conclusion.
• How much money do they give to Republicans?
• How much money do they give to Democrats?
• What presidential candidates has the group endorsed, if any?
• What presidential candidates has the group donated money to? How much?
• Has this interest group backed anyone in the most recent Congressional race in your own home state? If so, which candidate did they support? Have they donated money? How much?
• What standing committees of Congress are those who get money on?
Analysis and Assessment
• What issues does this group support? How does it justify (defend) that position?
• What issues does this group oppose? How does it justify (defend) that position?
• What legislation has it supported and opposed in recent years?
• Are there any current issues of concern before Congress (if so, what are they)?
• Are there any recent legislative victories?
• Are there any recent legislative defeats?
• Have they been involved in any court battles? If so, what were they? Did the group’s position prevail?
• What specific actions does this group take to try to influence the policy agenda? What resources make it influential? Give specific examples: (e.g. use of the media, lawsuits, direct lobbying, public information contributions, etc.)
• Which parts of the government does this group target (executive branch departments and congressional committees)?
• Does this group seem to be a more extreme or mainstream group? How could you tell?
• Assess this interest group. How successful is this group? What are its strengths and weaknesses? How effective is it in achieving its agenda? Include specific examples demonstrating the group’s effectiveness or lack thereof.
• Will the group be effective in promoting its agenda over the next few years? Why or why not? What will help promote or hinder the group’s success?
• How might the group improve its effectiveness in promoting the policies that it favors?
• If you were to join this interest group, what incentives would you gain? What benefits?
• What would you do if you were to get involved with this group? Do you feel like you could make a difference through this group? How so? Explain.
The body of the paper/essay (not including reference listing) should range between seven (7) and ten (10) space and a half (1½) pages (between 2,000 and 3,000 words). Papers/essays over 3,000 words will not be read in their entirety. Use the bold subheadings from these instructions to organize the paper/essay. Make sure the paper includes each section and addresses all of the questions asked by the assignment. Substantive content, accuracy and the quality of writing (including arguments, organization, grammar, syntax, clarity, and format) are all important elements of a quality paper/essay.
Do NOT rely solely on the group’s site. A group’s Web site will likely present that group in a favorable light. Use Google News and other reputable sources to search for information on the group to identify their key issues and recent activity. Research the group on the OpenSecrets.org website at http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/index.php. Use multiple sources from a variety of perspectives (left leaning, right leaning, politically neutral, scholarly studies from referred journals, etc.). Assess the validity and bias of sources as you examine them. Not all commentators are neutral or equally savvy in their analysis. Apply the CRAPP test at https://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf to evaluate information.
Political Science as a discipline typically uses APA format. However, given the diverse make up of this class and the variety of majors represented, papers using MLA format is also acceptable.
Include complete citations of sources you use, including footnotes or parenthetical citations as well as a bibliography. Be careful to use multiple sources and to cite any Web sources correctly. See the Purdue OWL at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ for detailed instructions on how to cite sources, especially electronic sources found on the Internet.