Interest Groups, Political Institutions and Strategic Choices: What Influences Institutional Lobbying Strategies?
26 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 15 Sep 2010
Date Written: August 26, 2010
This paper investigates the strategic choices interest groups make in choosing which political institutions to lobby given their internal resources (lobbying staff, budget, group type) and external political environment they face. Interest groups are more likely to lobby Congress than the White House, but does this pattern change when political control of American political institutions change? Will interest groups gain greater access to presidential administration officials under conditions of divided government where American political institutions are engaged in political moves and countermoves that allow interest groups to take advantage of the political climate? This study utilizes lobbying disclosure report datasets from 1999-2009 that have been made available as a result of the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act and subsequent updates made by Congress in 2007. This period includes various configuration of party control of American political institutions, which allows for testing the conditions under which interest groups will lobby both the Presidency and Congress. In this first round of data collection and analysis, the findings show that group internal resources and the political environment significantly impact decisions to lobby political institutions. These findings will be important to assessing the strategic context of interest group lobbying and the conditions under which different groups can gain access to multiple political institutions to make their case to policymakers.
Keywords: interest groups, lobbying, Congress, Presidency
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