ABOUT THIS BLOG

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

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Executive Branch, Coalitions, Courts

The Repeat-Player Effect

The White House:
Revolving Door


Lobbying:  the visitor logs and the off-the-books meetings


Federal Advisory Committees:  The Case of IACC

The Rulemaking Process

Examples from FCC

From 10,000 Commandments:



Coalitions 

In Showdown at Gucci Gulch, Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Alan S. Murray quote Reagan aide Richard Darman saying: “I couldn’t help thinking that if I were a lobbyist, I would stand in the hallway with a big sign saying EVERYONE INTERESTED IN KILLING THIS BILL, PLEASE MEET IN THE NEXT CORRIDOR … There would have been an enormous rush, and they would have seen the power of their collective action.” Nearly three decades later, all the lobbyists have read that book, and they know how to build coalitions.

(What happened to Birnbaum?  See here.)
Tocqueville: "There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one."  

Thinking about the inside game

I was looking through some writing related to the Federalist Society and came across this passage. More than thinking about the Federalist Society specifically, it made me consider the crucial relationship between aspects of the inside game looking ahead to the judicial branch. Even though the executive branch is far less permeable than Congress, this passage from an article I looked through made me wonder if the inside game for the judicial branch is made more accessible by the executive branch via nominations for judges. Congressional approval would create a second way in which the judicial branch becomes more permeable. I was asking myself if it was healthy for government that there can be political movements within the legal system to influence or "take back control" over things like interpreting the Constitution. 

"Far more than Presidents Obama and Clinton, Presidents Reagan and both Bushes cared intensely about the selection of judges. Brett M. Kavanaugh, now a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said that George W. Bush “devoted more attention to the issue of judges than any other president.” Like his Republican predecessors, he promoted well-known legal academics who had been allies, and advisers, of the Federalist Society, although they came from different wings of the conservative legal movement and therefore sometimes disagreed about crucial agenda items. (The libertarian Anthony Kennedy, for example, parted company with the social conservatives Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in abortion and gay rights cases, while Scalia worried that the “constitutionalizing” of economic rights advocated by libertarians would resurrect the “liberal brand of judicial activism” he objected to in Roe v. Wade.)"

From:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Congressional Hearings: Planned Parenthood Exposed

Earlier this month, on September 9th, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled, "Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation's Largest Abortion Provider." Per our class discussion, it seemed likely that a hearing with this name would have been a definite"punishment hearing," meant to embarrass Planned Parenthood's representative.  Interestingly enough, though, the organization under investigation was not included as a witness.  Testifying at the hearing were two abortion survivors, Ms. Melissa Ohden and Ms. Gianna Jessen, the General Counsel for the National Right to Life, James Bopp, Jr., and Priscilla J. Smith, Director and Senior Fellow at the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice, Information Society Project at Yale.  In his closing statement, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) stated, "Today’s hearing is another step in the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the atrocities allegedly committed by Planned Parenthood. This hearing was the first opportunity for Members of Congress and the American people to hear from legal experts and abortion survivors alike on the horrors of Planned Parenthood’s practices." In fact, this hearing is the first in a series of Committee hearings on Planned Parenthood's actions. Perhaps in subsequent hearings on this issue they will invite Planned Parenthood to speak before the committee on the alleged atrocities. 


Press Release on the September 9th Hearing:  http://www.judiciary.house.gov/index.cfm/press-releases?id=512DFAE6-EF55-4127-A1FB-5E2B7A79E5FB


General Information of the House Judiciary Committee's Investigation into Planned Parenthood:  http://www.judiciary.house.gov/index.cfm/investigation-into-planned-parenthood


Friday, September 25, 2015

Lobbying - Europe and the US

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: European lobbyists are as suave, subtle and sophisticated as their American counterparts are loud, brash and willing to step on toes to achieve their goals."

An article on Politico today outlined the similarities and differences between lobbyists in Europe (with a focus on Brussels) and the US. It discredits the idea that differences are a product of cultural divergence, and argues instead that the driving factors are the inherently different institutional contexts in which lobbyists must work. In the US, lobbyists can exert influence at multiple points in the legislative process (influencing when bills are drafted, who presents them, who votes for them, etc) whereas the influence of the Commission in the EU requires lobbyists to exert their influence before, and often only before, bills have even been written. The US context therefore requires more active, quick paced  lobbying, while slower, more "consensual" lobbying has better results in Europe. 

Read the full article here
Find just the super long interesting infographic here

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton Announces Position Against Keystone XL

Hillary Clinton announced yesterday, September 22nd, that she is against the expansion of the Keystone XL Pipeline. With this announcement, Clinton will lose some supporters within the Democratic party that support the building of Keystone XL. In the coming months, she might lose supporters of an interest group of primarily organized labor and working class, blue collar Americans. She believes that there are more jobs to be created with the introduction of cleaner energy in the US over the pipeline.

http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/09/22/hillary-clinton-says-she-opposes-keystone-pipeline/

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lobbying Congress

"The Most Permeable Branch"
ACCESSRep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) says that if she finds 30 phone messages, "of the thirty, you're going to know ten of them. Anyone is going to make phone calls to the people they know first.  I'm going to call the people I know. Among the people I know are donors."

The lay of the land"
This video is hokey and stagy but basically accurate:




Monday, September 21, 2015

ProPublica: "How Senate Hopefuls Keep Donors Secret From Voters Until It's Too Late"

Thoughts and Qs on two points from the ProPublica article "How Senate Hopefuls Keep Donors Secret From Voters Until It's Too Late"

Electronic vs. Paper Filings
Since December 2000, presidential and House candidates have had to file campaign reports electronically to the Federal Election Commission, meaning the public, journalists and analysts can see donors and recipients within minutes. The language in the 2000 law, though, didn’t cover Senate candidates.
As a result the Senate uses a paper system that hasn’t changed much since 1972: Filings are mailed, faxed or delivered by hand to the Secretary of the Senate. The paperwork, which can involve thousands of pages in a big race, is then passed to the FEC, which pays to have the documents scanned and posted online. The information in the reports is typed into a computer so the data can be published for researchers and journalists. The whole process costs the FEC up to $500,000 a year, the Congressional Budget Office has said.
The cumbersome process means information about fundraising and spending isn’t available for days or sometimes more than a week after the reports are due – and then in a format that isn’t easily searchable. In the final weeks before an election, voters may have only a few days to look through hundreds of pages of filings in key races. This isn’t new: a Campaign Finance Institute analysis in 2004 showed that “voters preparing to go to the polls last November did not know where a large amount of money to elect their Senators for the next six years was coming from.”
Right off the bat, the most troubling thing is how much time this whole process must waste. Those Hill interns will never get those hours back. But, I'm curious if the switch to electronic filings would make that big of a difference. At the point when filings are due, I would presume that most voters have already made up their minds. How effective are last minute oppo efforts?

Also, #tbt to this testimony from 2007 (apparently there was bipartisan support?).

Removing Limits on Coordinated Spending
But as coordinated spending has fallen, the rise of super PACS and nonprofits that funnel cash outside of the party apparatus has transformed campaign finance and rendered limits on party spending irrelevant, say analysts including Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. 
“It’s silly for parties to have to set up independent spending operations” in the new world of super PACs and nonprofits, said Mann, who testified before a Senate committee in 2007 in support of removing the coordinated spending limit.  
Daniel Weiner, an attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, who advocates for stricter campaign finance rules, also supports the general notion of eliminating caps on coordinated party spending. He said removing limits would likely divert some outside spending back into the party structure, which he said would be healthier for democracy because it could diminish the influence of super PACs and so-called dark money. Compared to independent groups, he said, parties are more internally democratic and accountable to the public because they’re “repeat players.”
Independent expenditures by parties wouldn’t disappear entirely, Weiner said. In scenarios where candidates want to maintain plausible deniability over an expense – an attack ad, for example – parties would likely still opt to go it alone. 
I'm not sure if Weiner's claim is true. What's the incentive for a wealthy executive to donate directly to the parties when the option to set up a PAC/501(c) exists?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lobbying and the Capital Community

Brookings

Philanthropy as "Deep Lobbying"

Comcast rents friends

The Financial Services Institute cites a letter that it ghostwrote

Corporations and the State Department  -- the example of Boeing

The Revolving Door

The California exit

First Assignment, Fall 2015

Pick one of the items below. (In all of these items, recent means "since January 2013.")
  • Holyoke says: "It is always easier to lobby against a proposal than for it: (p. 157). Explain, and illustrate the point by analyzing a successful lobbying campaign against a recent proposal before Congress. 
  • Look at who lobbied on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Pick one organization that lobbied for, and one that lobbied against. Explain their positions. How effective were they? 
  • In chapter 7, Holyoke discusses rulemaking. Explain the outcome of a recent fight over an administrative rule. 
  • Pick an amicus brief in a case that the Supreme Court has recently decided. Who filed it? Why? Explain the brief's argument. Why do you think that it was or was not effective? 
Instructions:
  • Document your claims. Do not write from the top of your head. 
  • Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than three pages long. I will not read past the third 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. 
  • Turn in essays to the class Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM, Friday, October 2. Late essays will drop a gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a full letter grade after that. I will grant no extensions except for illness or emergency.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Interest Groups, Movements, Factions, and Rackets

Yep, the NFL is an interest group.

So is the NCAA.

Social movements and religion
The fate of social movements: "What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult or a corporation." -- Eric Hoffer
Online organizing

Madison on faction
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. 
Factions and the Tea Party



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NFL lobbyists go on offense

     
      "After a tough year in the headlines, and with a major movie about football concussions arriving in theaters this Christmas, the NFL is going on offense this fall with Washington policymakers—starting with a series of closed-door meetings with key House and Senate committees this week.
      Cynthia Hogan, the league’s top lobbyist and a former senior attorney to Vice President Joe Biden, told POLITICO the NFL would be briefing the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Commerce Committee on player safety and pro football’s new efforts to pay for research into head injuries. The two panels have jurisdiction over sports-related commercial issues...
      The NFL has the only full-time lobbying operation run by a major sports league in Washington, a four-person shop that moved last December into new downtown offices about six blocks from the White House, sharing space with Covington& Burling, which is also the main outside law firm for the league.
      The lobbying shop hasn’t lacked work.  In the past few years, the NFL has come under fire from lawmakers who have criticized the sport’s violence, Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of player discipline, and the offensive implications of the Washington Redskins’ nickname. Several Democratic senators have led the charge, from Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein demanding a "zero-tolerance policy" for players who commit domestic violence to Maria Cantwell and Harry Reid pressuring Goodell into taking a stand on whether the Redskins should drop their mascot."


Full story here.
Politico: "John Boehner's future as speaker in doubt"
Follow up to Cigler reading. The Tea Party has challenged the Speaker and his efforts to unite the GOP. The TP has refused to support Boehner's efforts, especially on issues like immigration and spending cuts, as Cigler mentions (127). While the threat to Boehner's future as Speaker may or may not be legit, the TP has contributed to the situation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Types of Interest Groups

Businesses

Number of businesses



Where people actually work:  in large enterprises (with 500+ employees)


Most Americans own stock:
Trend: Percentage of U.S. Adults Invested in the Stock Market

Trade and Professional Associations


  • In 2014, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belonged to a union, compared with 7.4 million workers in the private sector. The union membership rate for public-sector workers (35.7 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private-sector workers (6.6 percent).
  • Sometime surprising agendas
Non-economic


Conglomerates or "Families of Organizations"


Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Expanding Universe of Interest Groups

Lester Freamon explains how to research interest groups.

Holyoke talks about a rise in the number of national associations. Check data from the Statistical Abstract of the United States (below).

1980 14,726
1990 22,289
1995 22,663
2000 21,840
2010 23,983

You might see something similar with political action committees (PACs).


Note, however, that data on business enterprises have a different pattern.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Interest Groups: A First Cut




The First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Mine Workers v. Illinois Bar Assn.  389 U.S. 217 (1967)
We start with the premise that the rights to assemble peaceably and to petition for a redress of grievances are among the most precious of the liberties safeguarded by the Bill of Rights. These rights, moreover, are intimately connected, both in origin and in purpose, with the other First Amendment rights of free speech and free press. "All these, though not identical, are inseparable."Thomas v. Collins, 323 U. S. 516, 323 U. S. 530 (1945). See De Jones v. Oregon, 299 U. S. 353, 299 U. S. 364 (1937). The First Amendment would, however, be a hollow promise if it left government free to destroy or erode its guarantees by indirect restraints so long as no law is passed that prohibits free speech, press, petition, or assembly as such. We have therefore repeatedly held that laws which actually affect the exercise of these vital rights cannot be sustained merely because they were enacted for the purpose of dealing with some evil within the State's legislative competence, or even because the laws do, in fact, provide a helpful means of dealing with such an evil. Schneider v. State, 308 U. S. 147 (1939); Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U. S. 296 (1940).
Some data