PLSC 083 Lobbying the Federal Government


October 29, 2001


Readings: Wolpe and Levine, Ch. 4-5.


Papers due on Wednesday. These should focus on application of the theoretical questions from your most recent paper to your case. Detailed references should focus on where the theory is confirmed, where you contradict the theory, whether other theoretical approaches help explain better, etc. Refer not just to the case overview as many of you did in the last paper, but to more details about the case available on the various web pages saved for your use.


Next Monday: University government relations office. Come with questions about what you think the universityís goals in Washington should be. What is it like to be an advocate in thepublic service?


From last week: Wolpe and Levineís list of advice makes it all sound so courtly. Donít people have enemies?What themes can you discern from these authorsí pieces of advice? Do they seem to be bomb-throwers or insiders? Long-term or short-term players? Note that their perspective leads to advice that may be useful for them but less useful for other types of actors. What kinds of advocates might disagree with this set of advice?


Ch. 4. Fund-raising and contributing


Roles of PACs. Where did these come from? What are the limits to individual and corporate giving? Why is there so much attention to PAC contributions? 1974 FECA and amendments. Why did it begin in 1974 of all years? Was that the beginning of money in politics?


Role of groups in raising money. Bundling contributions. How much time this takes. Is fund-raising lobbying?


Ch. 5. The Corrolaries


1.      Status-quo bias. They give several reasons for this. Note how this may affect your case.


  1. Precedent and parliamentary procedures. How important these are. Similarly, you should note whether these are affecting the outcomes in your cases.


  1. Defer to your leaders. That is, work with your legislative horse. What if this person is incompetent, uninterested, or otherwise incapable? Thatís why you need the best possible legislative allies. In your cases, did those involved have the best possible allies working with them?


  1. Donít burn votes or bridges.


  1. Ideas donít matter if you donít have 218 + 51. Note what they say about the Supreme Court. Anything is constitutional if there are 5 votes for it on the supreme court. Similarly in Congress, nothing can happen if you canít get 218 in the House and 51 in the Senate. Do you always need a full vote, or are there ways to get things done with fewer? Is this evident in any of your cases?


  1. You get nothing if you donít ask. Policies only move if someone is out there pushing. So the question of who is pushing gets to the heart of who is represented in a democratic system. Think of this last question as you evaluate your case in your paper: Who is represented, who is pushing, how effective are they, etc.