Influence & Lobbying in the US

Comment voulez- vous garder une saine démocratie, quand vous avez autant de groupe d’intérêts qui gravitent autour du pouvoir politique


The primary goal of much of the money
that flows through U.S. politics is :


INFLUENCE


Corporations and industry groups, labor unions, single-issue organizations – together, they spend billions of dollars each year to gain access to decision-makers in government, all in an attempt to influence their thinking.

Interest Groups

Just about any interest group you can think of has a presence in Washington—and spends money to maintain that presence. Here we've added up all campaign contributions associated over the years with more than 100 interest groups, so that you can see patterns that might have affected policies with an impact on your life. We also track how much interest groups have been spending on lobbying, which is the other side of the influence coin.

Lobbying

Professional advocates make big bucks to lobby members of Congress and government officials on the issues their clients care about. But the money that industries, companies, unions and issue groups spend on lobbying is often just a drop in the bucket compared to what they can reap in return if their lobbyists are successful. Here you can see who spends what on federal lobbying and where they focus their resources.

Revolving Door

You've heard it before—it's not what you know, it's who you know. In our nation's capital, success comes with a combination of knowledge and personal connections. This database tracks thousands of individuals who've spun through Washington's "revolving door", employing professional relationships and know-how accumulated through public service to advance the goals of their private employers.

PACs

In a campaign finance system where all the money originates from individuals, political action committees, or PACs, control the most "corporate" of money. Controlled by companies, trade associations, unions, issue groups and even politicians (a subset called "leadership PACs"), these committees pool contributions from individuals and distribute them to candidates, political parties and other PACs. PACs can also spend money independently on political activities, including advertising and other efforts to support or oppose candidates in an election.

Heavy Hitters

Influence in Washington is built over time, and these labor unions, corporations and industry associations have been at it for years.

In boxing, big punchers seek knockouts. In government, the same principle applies: The wealthiest corporations and special interest groups usually pepper politicians with overwhelming amounts of money in hope of influencing the political process.

527

For the longest time, campaign ads were almost exclusively produced by candidates and political parties, but in recent years outside issue groups have been getting in on the action. They often operate as so-called 527 committees (taking their name from the relevant section of the IRS tax code). Sometimes mysteriously named, these advocacy groups frequently have ties to labor, big business and super-wealthy individuals. Unlike political committees, they can accept unlimited contributions from just about anyone, and they deploy that money in various ways to influence elections. Keep an eye on these shadowy groups here.

Don't just blame political candidates for all the glossy flyers cluttering your mailbox, for the in-your-face television and radio advertisements and calls at home that interrupt your dinner. Chances are, much of that electioneering is being paid for by one of an untold number of advocacy groups-political action committees (PACs), 527s and other hard-to-track organizations with millions to spend on the 2010 elections.

These groups represent a variety of positions on a variety of issues, but they have one thing in common: they influence how you look at the candidates. Their activities may not instruct you to vote for or against a specific candidate, but often they will try to shape your opinion of a political candidate or party in the context of a specific issue. Such "issue advocacy" won't explicitly tell you to elect or defeat a particular candidate, but the advocacy group's view of the candidate's stance on their issue is clear.

Outside Spending

Campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures are not the only ways that money is used influence public policy decisions. Outside groups spent $489,289,288 during the 2010 election cycle to run ads, make phone calls, distribute literature and engage in other activities to sway the electorate about candidates and issues.

Organizations not directly affiliated with political parties accounted for $304,679,091 of that amount. A January 2010 Supreme Court decision (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) now permits corporations and unions to make such expenditures from their treasuries directly and through other organizations. The decision allows such activity to take place without complete or immediate disclosure of who funds such communications, preventing voters from understanding who is truly behind many political messages.

Source : Influence & Lobbying, OpenSecrets.org


Voir aussi : Influence & Lobbying in the US (Graphics)