I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:

· To post questions or comments;

· To follow up on class discussions;

· To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

The syllabus is at http://www1.cmc.edu/pages/faculty/JPitney/gov106-fall15.html


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Wrapping Up

Madison again:
As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.
The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government. 
Hamilton argues against representation by occupational category:
It is notorious that there are often as great rivalships between different branches of the mechanic or manufacturing arts as there are between any of the departments of labor and industry; so that, unless the representative body were to be far more numerous than would be consistent with any idea of regularity or wisdom in its deliberations, it is impossible that what seems to be the spirit of the objection we have been considering should ever be realized in practice.

Leadership PACs and Super PACs

Time: Person of the Year

The Nation: Trump Wins Even If 'Time' Magazine Doesnt Name Him its 'Person of the Year'

The announcement of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a surprise, especially when many believed that Donald Trump would take the title. In contrast to Trump, Time described Merkel as having a political style with "no flair, no flourishes, no charisma, just a survivor's sharp sense of power and a scientist's devotion to data. Her leadership over the past year is credited for her management of the Greek debt crisis, the migration of Syrian refugees, and her strong response to Putin's aggression in Ukraine. However, in a National Review article by Leslie Savan, she argues that the clear choice for person of the year should have been Donald Trump, however, whether he was given the title or not, Trump comes out as the winner. If he wins, Savan argues "he'll declare it the greatest poll ever taken." If he loses, he'll accuse Time of robbing him, although he already anticipated this outcome, "I say there's no way they give it to me..even if i deserve it, they can't do it."

Trump was listed as the third runner up - here's an interesting quote from the piece describing his influence...

Time: The Short List: Donald Trump 
This is the grim bet of Donald J. Trump. He knows how to read people, and he believes his nation is ready for a wartime consigliere, a tough guy for a scary time. He makes no apologies, even when he is wrong or people get pummeled. His words are weapons, slicing through the national consciousness. "You know what? Maybe it's good, maybe its not," he allowed, as he sat in his tower, among the trophies of his glorious life. "And if it's not, that's all right. They'll get somebody else, and you what's going to happen? Our country is going to hell."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Trump's Legal Counsel Clearly Didn't Take This Class...


Last week, Alan Garten, general counsel for the Trump Organization, tried sending a letter to Jeb Bush's PAC threatening "immediate legal action" if the group continued to produce ads attacking The Donald.  Garten mistakenly sent the letter to the Right to Rise PAC, a leadership PAC, instead of its related super PAC, Right to Rise USA. In response, the attorneys of the Right to Rise PAC sent Garten a letter urging him to consult the FEC website "to familiarize yourself about the differences between Leadership PACs and Super PACs. " Right to Rise's attorneys also suggested that Garten take some time to read the Citizens United and SpeechNow decisions that invalidated previous limits on contributions to traditional PACs. "They both are very helpful and might clear up some of your confusion," they wrote. Some additional fiery snippets from the exchange are:

  • "We are intrigued (but not surprised) by your continued efforts to silence critics of your client's campaign by employing litigious threats and bullying. Should your client actually be elected Commander-in-Chief, will you be the one writing the cease and desist letters to Vladimir Putin, or will that be handled by outside counsel?..."
  • "Just as your client is attempting to quickly learn the basics of foreign policy, we wish you personally the best in your attempts to learn election law." 
  • "Lastly, in light of your confusion over the difference between Leadership PACs and Super PACs, we have to assume you may also be unaware of the FEC's prohibition on a federal candidate's use of corporate resources for campaign purposes. Although your client may think he is above the law and be accustomed to using lawsuits to bail out his failed business deals, the Federal Election Campaign Act and the FEC's Regulations nonetheless apply to him and his campaign." 

Also, if you're as curious as I was about how Trump got the horrible nickname "The Donald" check this out!

Practice Final

The following will give you an idea of the format of the final exam. As you prepare, also take a look at the air midterm.

I. Briefly identify 11 of 13 items (4 points each). Explain each item's meaning and significance.
  • Jack Abramoff
  • 501(c)(4)
  • The revolving door
  • Crossroads GPS
  • Turkmenistan
  • Freedom's Watch
  • Bundling
  • Taft-Hartley
  • FARA
  • Cooperative Federalism
II. Short essays. Answer three of four. Each answer should take about half a page. (6 points each).
  • Explain the major goals of the Turkish lobby in the United States.
  • Is "the religious lobby" mostly conservative?  Explain.
  • Tell why work stoppages have declined dramatically since the 1970s.
  • Does any individual corporation have a strong material incentive to lobby for comprehensive tax reform?  Explain.
III. Answer two of three essay questions (19 points each). Each answer should take about 2-3 large bluebook pages or 3-4 small bluebook pages.
  • Why is it difficult to enact gun control at the federal level?
  • What are the major reasons for the proliferation of interest groups in the United States?
  • In 2006, Democrats took both chambers of Congress.  In 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency.  The past few years should have been a golden age for labor unions.  What happened?
Bonus Questions (one point each). Very briefly identify the following:
  • Bill Paxon
  • Penny Pritzker
  • David Penzer
  • Heather Podesta
  • Trevor Potter

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Ethics Code for Lobbyists


After Abramoff came reforms (Holyoke 274-275) with loopholes, as National Journal reports:
The 2007 rules pre­vent a lob­by­ist for a cor­por­ate cli­ent from plan­ning or pay­ing for a law­maker’s trip. But the same rules al­low such a trip if it’s paid for by a for­eign gov­ern­ment. So while it does re­main il­leg­al for, say, a Google lob­by­ist to plan and ac­com­pany a law­maker on a free trip abroad, if that same lob­by­ist does so on be­half of Tur­key, it’s per­fectly leg­al. And if that lob­by­ist hap­pens to have both cor­por­ate and for­eign-gov­ern­ment cli­ents (as most do), they can still go abroad so long as it’s a coun­try and not a com­pany foot­ing the bill.
And that’s only one of the loop­holes the in­flu­ence in­dustry has ex­ploited to help law­makers score free travel. Today, a wide net­work of non­profits — many with a clear agenda and some with ex­cru­ci­at­ingly tight ties to Wash­ing­ton’s biggest lob­by­ing op­er­a­tions — are put­ting to­geth­er in­ter­na­tion­al con­gres­sion­al ex­cur­sions. Some of these pa­per non­profits have no staff or space of their own; they simply share with a sis­ter or­gan­iz­a­tion that lob­bies. Yet eth­ics of­fi­cials in Con­gress have deemed them to be in­de­pend­ent enough. In one in­stance, a lob­by­ist lit­er­ally re­gistered a new non­profit — in his own of­fice — that went on to pay for con­gres­sion­al travel abroad.
Big cor­por­a­tions bank­roll some non­profits, whose trips, in turn, can fea­ture stops at the busi­nesses of their cor­por­ate fun­ders. As a bo­nus, the grow­ing use of 501(c)(3) non­profits, which oc­cupy the same char­it­able rung of the tax code as soup kit­chens and the Amer­ic­an Red Cross, means that the wealthy and cor­por­ate donors un­der­writ­ing con­gres­sion­al travel can do so in secret and get a tax write-off along the way.

Transparency loopholes

Pensions and California

The Richest Counties in the US, with Median Household Income Estimate for 2013
  • Loudoun County, VA $117,680
  • Falls Church city, VA $117,452
  • Los Alamos County, NM $110,930
  • Fairfax County, VA $110,658
  • Howard County, MD $108,503
  • Hunterdon County, NJ $107,203
  • Douglas County, CO $105,192
  • Arlington County, VA $101,533
  • Morris County, NJ $99,950
  • Montgomery County, MD $97,873

The Snake Lobby Uses Tactics Similar to The Gun Lobby


"Like the gun lobby, which the reptile industry resembles in its rhetoric, the snake dealers quickly learned to play the Washington game."

Since its founding in 2006, The United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) defeated anti-reptile legislation in more two-dozen states. USARK claims that federal bans on snakes imposes national rules on a regional problem and largely depends on "red meat rhetoric" similar to the gun lobby. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lobbying at the COP21 Climate talks in Paris

"According to a new report from the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International, several of the Paris COP's corporate sponsors have direct ties to the fossil fuel industry, and, the group argues, a conflict of interest when it comes to the purported goals of the summit.

Beyond greenwashing, Bragg said it's unlikely that these companies will be able to have a direct impact on the policy outcome of this COP, given how many of the nuts and bolts were worked out by diplomats in advance. But he cautioned that the creeping influence of corporations over the last two decades of climate negotiations report has made diplomats overly sensitive to business-friendly solutions." 



Saturday, December 5, 2015

CNN has fun with Cruz's B-roll

Someone mentioned in class last week that Ted Cruz uploaded another batch of uncut footage to YouTube hoping super PACs will pick it up for ads, and CNN noticed -- and produced a glorious super-cut of all of the awkward direction that goes into "natural" scenes. This doesn't add a great deal to our discussion of how candidates interact with super PACs -- we already knew about the video dumps -- but this is a pretty entertaining display of the phenomenon.


h/t Vice

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Foreign Lobbying

Breaking News 

CAIR and San Bernardino

Lee Drutman has a very smart take on the interest group politics of gun control:
Money is not irrelevant, and the NRA and related groups do spend a lot of it. But even if the NRA and other gun groups didn't spend a dime on campaigns, they would still be in a very powerful position for two reasons:
  • The NRA and its allies have millions of dedicated single-issue voters who are deeply passionate about their Second Amendment rights; gun control advocates do not.
  • Rural and suburban areas with higher rates of gun ownership and deeper passion for the Second Amendment are overrepresented in Congress.

More recently:  Russia and Ukraine


Alternative databases from Sunlight and POGO

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mark Zuckerberg and the Rise of Philanthrocapitalism

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan decided they will donate to philanthropic causes roughly ninety-nine per cent of their Facebook stock over the course of their lifetime (close to forty-five billion dollars).

This has opened an interesting discussion about the newfound tendency of the wealthiest people to donate their money to charities instead of their heirs (which, conveniently, allows them to avoid a few types of taxes and eventually increase their own wealth). Further, the practice of giving vast amounts to charity allows the small number of the extremely affluent to promote causes near and dear to their hearts. 

"My intention, here, isn’t to enter the education debate. It is simply to point out what should be obvious: people like Zuckerberg and Gates, by virtue of their philanthropic efforts, can have a much bigger say in determining policy outcomes than ordinary citizens can."

Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Foreign Influence and Ethnic Lobbies

Disputes about foreign policy are not new:

The "natural born citizen" clause

The Citizen Genet Affair

The Nazis of La Crescenta (real video, not a parody)

 Foreign Agents Registration Act

Ban on Foreign Campaign Money ...but

No Ban on Foreign-Connected US Money

And US diaspora groups, of course, have no limit at all.

Foreign-Born Population



And what happened?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Disabilities, Autism, and Interest Group Politics

Autism illustrates three major points about interest group politics:
  1. Changes in the perceived extent of a problem lead to changes in interest group activity.
  2. Interest group activity on one issue may foster activity on related issues.  In this case, the civil rights movement spawned the disability rights movement, which spawned the autism rights movement.  See Shapiro, esp. p. 167
  3. Interest group activity on any issue is often full of factionalism and conflict among groups.  In the case of autism, the conflict includes death threats.
 The "Early History" of Autism
  • 1943:  American psychiatrist Leo Kanner publishes “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact” (Nervous Child 2 (1943): 217-250), identifying autism as a childhood psychiatric disorder.
  • 1948:  In another article, Kanner says that autistic children “were kept neatly in refrigerators which did not defrost.”  Time popularizes the idea in an article titled "Frosted Children."
  • 1959:  Bruno Bettelheim publishes “Joey: A Mechanical Boy,” in Scientific American  200 (March 1959): 117-126.  A condensed version reaches a larger audience through Reader's Digest.  The article gains even more attention for the "refrigerator mother" theory.
  • 1960:  Armstrong Circle Theater presents “The HiddenWorld,” a highly favorable dramatization of Bettelheim's work, with actor Peter von Zerneck portraying Bettelheim.
  • 1964:  Bernard Rimland publishes Infantile Autism, a book summarizing current research and refuting the "refrigerator mother" theory.
  • 1965: Psychologist Ole Ivar Lovaas develops the Applied Behavior Analysis.  The May 7 issue of Life gives it national publicity in “Screams, Slaps, and Love:  A Surprising,Shocking Treatment Helps Far-Gone Mental Cripples.”
  • 1965:  Rimland and 60 others form the National Society for Autistic Children (NSAC), later the Autism Society of America.
  • 1967:  Bettelheim publishes The Empty Fortress, a book expanding on his theory and criticizing Rimland.  Bettelheim is a celebrity who gets many more readers.
The Disability Rights Movement and the Law
  • 1927:  The "civil libertarian" Oliver Wendell Holmes writes the majority opinion in Buck v. Bell, upholding involuntary sterilization of people with mental disabilities:  
    • We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough
  • 1945-46:  Veterans come home, many with disabilities See Shapiro, pp. 143-144.
  • 1973:  Congress passes the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-112). Section 504 forbids discrimination against the handicapped "under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”  
  • 1975: Congress passes the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) requiring free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive setting.  The law later gets the more familiar name of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  See Shapiro, pp. 165-166.
  • 1975: The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (P.L. 94-103) creates a "bill of rights" for persons with developmental disabilities, funds services, and establishes protection and advocacy organizations in each state.  Because of lobbying by NSAC, it includes autism .
  • 1975: In O'Connor v. Donaldson (422 U.S. 563), SCOTUS says: "A State cannot constitutionally confine, without more, a nondangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by himself or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends
  • 1982The Rowley case (458 U. S. 176) narrows the scope of EAHCA. See p. 189 of Fleischer and Zames. 
  • 1987Lovaas publishes a study reporting a 47 percent recovery rate with ABA. 
  • 1988: Rain Man introduces autism to millions of moviegoers.
  • 1990:  President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act (P.L. 101-336). mandates that local, state and federal governments and programs be accessible, that businesses with more than 15 employees make "reasonable accommodations" for disabled workers, that public accommodations  make "reasonable modifications.” See Shapiro, p. 181.
  • 1990: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA) (P.L. 101-476) renames the Education of the Handicapped Act and reauthorizes programs under the Act to improve support services. Autism becomes a separate category in IDEA for special education.
  • 1994:  The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) expands the definition of autism.
  • 1998:  Dr. Andrew Wakefield and others publish a fraudulent study in the Lancet about MMR vaccinated children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
  • 2000:  President Clinton signs the Children's Health Act, founding an autism research coordinating committee.
  • 2002: Wakefield tells the House Government Reform and Oversight committee that there is “compelling evidence” of a link between vaccines and autism, even though studies have already discredited his research.
Autism Takes Off

Children 3 to 21 years old with autism served under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B (numbers in thousands)  Source: Digest of Education Statistics, various years.
Autistic children aged 3 to 21 receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (in thousands)

The Interest Group Universe

Peak Associations
Anti-Vaccine Activists
Pro-Science Groups
Professional Organizations

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MADD Updates!

Here's a short round-up of some interesting mentions Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has had in the news recently.

States trying to refuse refugees — someone from MSNBC used data from a recent MADD report to compare states with lax drunk driving laws against those refusing refugees:
"...in a recent report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 14 states have particularly lax laws covering a range of safety precautions – including immediate confiscation of licenses for DUI offenders, sobriety checkpoints, and penalties for DUI child endangerment, among others. Eight of those states have governors who are opposing, refusing or suspending the resettlement of Syrian refugees into their state."
MADD joins fight to bring Uber to New York — outside of NYC, Uber and Lyft are restricted in NY state. MADD has joined a coalition to allow the services statewide in the hopes of keeping drunk drivers off the road:
"Mothers Against Drunk Driving is joining the push to bring Uber to upstate New York. The ride share service announcing today that MADD is now part of a coalition encouraging state leaders to get the service throughout the state. While many see the service as a quick and easy way to catch a ride, MADD sees it as a way to keep people safe. The coalition 'New York needs Uber,' says the ride share service will make communities safer by keeping drunk drivers off the road."
Moms speak out for gun sense — an advocacy group formed after the Sandy Hook shooting is taking a leaf out of MADD's book: using the social trust/clout of motherhood and the rhetorical framework of protecting families to push for gun control laws:
"Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MDA [Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense] in America was created to advocate for stronger laws and policies that will reduce gun violence and save lives. Since its inception after the Sandy Hook mass shooting, MDA has mobilized mothers across the country to become the largest grassroots movement working to reduce gun violence. MDA is a non-partisan grassroots movement of American mothers demanding common-sense solutions to address the country’s dangerous culture of gun violence that jeopardizes the safety of children and families."

More from Vogel: Unsurprising, but spies!

The Koch Intelligence Agency

"The competitive intelligence team has a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst, and operates from one of the non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro stop in suburban Arlington, Va. It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular “intelligence briefing” emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies, according to documents reviewed by POLITICO and interviews with a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the group.

The competitive intelligence team has gathered on-the-ground intelligence from liberal groups’ canvassing events in an effort to assess the technology and techniques of field efforts to boost Democrats, according to the sources. And they say the team utilizes high-tech tactics to track the movements of liberal organizers, including culling geo-data embedded in their social media posts."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/the-koch-brothers-intelligence-agency-215943#ixzz3ruc41ppD

Major Donors Consider Funding Black Lives Matter

"The DA, as the club is known in Democratic circles, is recommending its donors step up check writing to a handful of endorsed groups that have supported the Black Lives Matter movement. And the club and some of its members also are considering ways to funnel support directly to scrappier local groups that have utilized confrontational tactics to inject their grievances into the political debate.

It’s a potential partnership that could elevate the Black Lives Matter movement and heighten its impact. But it’s also fraught with tension on both sides, sources tell POLITICO."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/major-donors-consider-funding-black-lives-matter-215814#ixzz3ruawgI00

Air Midterm

Relax. This “air midterm” does not count toward your grade; do not even turn it in. Instead, use it to appraise your own progress in the course. Try out this test, either in your head or on paper.If you flounder, then you should take more care with class sessions and assigned readings.

I. Identifications  In a short paragraph each, explain the meaning and significance of the following items. What is fair game for an identification?
  • Items that we have discussed in class or on the blog;
  • Items that appear in bold or italics in the readings;
  • Items that cover several pages in the readings.
  1. "Repeat players"
  2. Murder boards
  3. 501(c)(3)
  4. American Crossroads
  5. Americans for Prosperity
  6. The Gilded Age
  7. Iron triangles
  8. Lobbying Disclosure Act
  9. SEIU
  10. Special districts
II.   Short essays.  In a couple of paragraphs each, answer the following.
  • How is philanthropy a form of interest-group advocacy?
  • How did Big Tobacco use front groups?
  • Explain why Teles writes that the Federalist Society "is not an interest group, and it does not engage in many of the activities its opponents attribute to it."
  • Explain the purported "crowding out" phenomenon in government budgets.
III. General Essays 
  •  Explain how lobbying Congress is different from lobbying the executive branch.  When is an interest group more likely to focus on one rather than the other?
  • Aside from the obvious contribution caps, distinguish traditional corporate PACs from Super PACs and 501(c)(4) groups. Are they trying to do something different?
Bonus questions.  Very briefly identify the following:

  • Stephen Goldsmith
  • Samuel Gompers
  • Gwen Gordon
  • Arthur Goldburg
  • Robert Gibbs

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Social Issues


Assimilation v. Liberation, Conciliation v. Confrontation (Cigler, p. 69)
LGBT Groups:  Different postures toward conflict, different venues for action

Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Not from the Onion!

Oscars for advocacy
Judged by your own peers, The Goldie Awards recognize excellence in political practice and communication. Democrats are recognized with a Golden Donkey. Republicans are recognized with a Golden Elephant. Non-Partisan and Independent entries are recognized with a Golden Eagle.
Unlike other award programs, your peers judge your entry based on your individual goals, execution and effectiveness. Your entries are never pitted against other entries that have different production budgets and different purposes and goals trying to be achieved.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Labor III

Data from Vox:

AFSCME WI decline
WI public sector union chart

Right-to-Work Laws  (See AFL-CIO view)

DS wisconsin 25th RTW state

Public Opinion

Opinion of Right-to-Work Laws


And the outcome

In the courts:  Vergara

College Lobbying

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Lynchburg College President Kenneth Garren was sipping wine at a reception before Virginia’s gubernatorial inauguration last year when he spotted a familiar face: Sen. Mark Warner.
Mr. Garren had known the senator for years and had met with the lawmaker’s daughter on campus when she was considering applying to the small Christian college. At the inauguration party, Mr. Garren says, he buttonholed the senator and urged him to oppose a plan from President Barack Obama to create a ratings system for colleges.
Mr. Warner (D., Va.) announced two months later that he opposed Mr. Obama’s plan, saying he had been persuaded by Mr. Garren and other Virginia college presidents. Scores of other members of Congress did the same, and this summer, Mr. Obama announced that he was backing off key elements. The Education Department released a searchable database about colleges in September, but left the ratings possibilities to others.
Colleges and universities have become one of the most effective lobbying forces in Washington, employing more lobbyists last year than any other industries except drug manufacturing and technology. There are colleges in every congressional district, and 1 in 40 U.S. workers draw a paycheck from a college or university.
Over the last two decades, the higher-education industry has beaten back dozens of government proposals to measure its successes and failures. It has killed efforts to tighten rules for accrediting schools, defeated a proposed requirement to divulge more information about graduation rates and eliminated funding for state agencies that could have closed bad schools. The proposals had support from both sides of the political aisle.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Teachers unions to have more success in 2016 Dem candidates?

Teachers unions are upset with Obama's decision to replace outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan with like-minded John King, Jr. "By choosing King to succeed Duncan, the president is signaling that he cares more about continuing those fights—for higher standards, for charter schools, for standardized testing—than healing wounds or papering over differences within his party before the 2016 election," writes Politico journalist Mike Grunwald in "Obama vs. teachers unions: It's still on."

This will become a big question for Democrats in the 2016 race -- whether the party will continue pursuing education reform or side with the teachers unions. The American Federation of Teachers was the first major organization to endorse Hilary Clinton and the National Education Association have also backed Clinton as well. 

Education reform activist Campbell Brown hosted an education forum, where the Dem presidential candidates were notably absent. In "Bowing to Unions, 2016 Dems Skip Campbell Brown's Education Forum," Brown told Politico: "What happened here is very clear: The teachers unions have gotten to these candidates... President Obama certainly never cowered to the unions." 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Labor II

Losing Ground in Public Opinion:

Trend: Do You Approve or Disapprove of Labor Unions?

 "I'm not satisfied when I see men like Jimmy Hoffa - in charge of the largest union in the United States - still free."  -- JFK, first Kennedy-Nixon debate, 1960

Increase in government employment, though not at the federal level:

Public and private sector (also see page 40 of Cigler)

About even share of union membership

By state (See DiSalvo, p. 42):

Top organizational contributors since 2002 (compare to DiSalvo, p. 58)

Eitan Hersh writes at FiveThirtyEight:
Most states — 44 out of 50 — hold some state and local elections off the federal cycle.
Why do Democrats and Democratic-aligned groups prefer off-cycle elections? When school boards and other municipal offices are up for election at odd times, few run-of-the-mill voters show up at the polls, but voters with a particular interest in these elections — like city workers themselves — show up in full force. The low-turnout election allows their policy goals to dominate.

Nurses as political champions

Research Paper

You are to write an essay analyzing the interest group that you have chosen.  In your answer, answer these questions:

  • Whom does the organization represent?
  • How does the organization make decisions?
  • What are its top current policy priorities?  Tell how it is seeking to change or preserve certain statutes, rules, or practices.
  • What strategy is it pursuing?  Inside game or outside game?  Legislative, executive or judicial action?
  • What are its prospects for success over the next year?

  • Document your claims. Do not write from the top of your head. 
  • Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than eight pages long. I will not read past the eighth page. 
  • Cite your sources with endnotes in Chicago/Turabian style. Endnote pages do not count against the page limit. 
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. 
  • Due date is 11:59 PM on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4 (new time).  Papers will drop a gradepoint for one day's lateness, a full letter grade after that.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

NY Times: "Airbnb and Uber Mobilize Vast User Base to Sway Policy"

In the last few years, so-called sharing companies like Uber and Airbnb have entered communities that are growing rapidly and developing new policies and regulations that are unfavorable to their businesses. Sharing companies are mobilizing their users to fight these regulations.  For example, in opposition to Proposition F (which would limit the number of nights that people can rent out rooms in their homes),  Airbnb led a news conference last Wednesday that “served as a warning shot” to other cities that are considering tightening their regulations. The head of global policy for Airbnb “framed Proposition 8 as an industry-led attack on the middle class.” Groups opposing Prop. F raised almost 8 million to mobilize Airbnb users. Additionally, Airbnb hopes to create 100 “clubs,” essentially unions, by the end of this year to lead similar efforts.  


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Labor I

Union membership, historical:

1869: Knights of Labor
1886: Haymarket Riot
1886: AF of L 
1894: Pullman Strike
1905: IWW begins
1911: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
1912: Massachusetts passes first state minimum wage law
1912: Socialist labor leader Eugene Debs win 6% in presidential election
1913: Federal Department of Labor Established
1919: Federal government imprisons Eugene V. Debs
1919: Coolidge breaks the Boston police strike
1931: Davis-Bacon Act
1933: Perkins becomes Secretary of Labor
1935: Wagner Act
1937: CIO Splits from AFL
1938: Fair Labor Standards Act
1944: CIO invents the PAC
1947: Taft-Hartley Act
1955: AFL-CIO Merger
1962: JFK issues executive order 10988
Public and private sector (also see page 40 of Cigler)
Latest BLS Data

Why the private-sector decline?  One reason:

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ted Cruz's silent super PACs

Today, Politico published an article titled "Cruz's silent super PACs a growing worry for campaign."  In this article, Shane Goldmacher reports on the minimal amount of TV time reserved by Cruz's super PACs.  Unlike other 2016 candidates who have one major super PAC supporting them, Cruz actually has four separate PACs that each have a form of "Keep the Promise" in their names.  Combined, these PACs have raised $38 million, which is the second highest of any presidential contender.  However, unlike other candidates' super PACs, Cruz's groups have only run one TV ad, which played during the Iowa-Iowa State football game in Sep.  Also, they have reserved no TV time, which may be problematic as ad rates are expected to rise substantially.

As we talked about in class, candidates are not allowed to communicate with super PACs, which is not to say that Cruz's campaign has not tried to send them signals.  Over the summer, his campaign posted hours of unedited, b-roll footage on Youtube that could be used by PACs for TV ads.  Unfortunately for Cruz and his team, this footage has not yet been utilized.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Business II

The Privileged Position of Business?

There does not seem to be cause for alarm in the dual relationship of the press to the public, whereby it is on one side a purveyor of information and opinion and on the other side a purely business enterprise. Rather, it is probable that a press which maintains an intimate touch with the business currents of the nation, is likely to be more reliable than it would be if it were a stranger to these influences. After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of opinion that the great majority of people will always find these are moving impulses of our life.
Attitudes on regulation
The USA is distinctive in this respect
Structure of US Government: competition among states

Review of why companies lobby (Drutman, p. 75)

...............................................Collective (Industry)............Selective (Company)

Proactive...............................Medicare presc. drug............Coverage of specific company drug

Reactive................................Preserve industry tax break..Preserve company contract

Drutman, p. 80:
  1. Contacting Congressional staffers directly to present your point of view
  2. Identifying allies in Congress who might serve as “champions” for your cause
  3. Monitoring developments closely
  4. Contacting members of Congress directly to present your point of view 
  5. Consulting with members of Congress and/or their staff to plan legislative strategy 
  6. Entering into coalitions with other organizations
  7. Consulting with other organizations to plan legislative strategy 
  8. Helping to draft legislation 
  9. Contacting members of the executive branch directly to present your point of view 
  10. Identifying allies in the executive branch who might serve as “champions” for your cause 
  11. Presenting research results or technical information
  12. Contacting undecided members 
  13. Writing position papers
  14. Mobilizing constituents to contact their representatives 
  15. Talking to people from the press and the media 
  16. Contacting members who are opposed to your position 
  17. Testifying at hearings 
  18. Attending political fundraisers
  19. Consulting with members of the executive branch to plan legislative strategy 
  20. Organizing political fundraisers 
  21. Using issue advertising

Other tactics: