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, 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:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Republican Super PACs Dominate Early Ad Spending

An article posted on Time.com yesterday looks at early ad spending here. Republicans have outspent the Dems by a significant margin, and Bush's "Right to Rise" superPAC aired about 45% (around 5300) of the ads in October (the "heaviest advertising month yet during the 2016 presidential campaign").

What's interesting:
"Only a small fraction of the ads run by outside groups backing one presidential candidate or another have been negative. Voters may not even notice that the sponsor of an ad touting a particular candidate isn’t the campaign itself.

Are Republican superPACs afraid to run attack ads because of what happened in 2012? Or will the ads take on a more aggressive tone closer to the Iowa caucuses?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Candy Lobbyists vs. Michelle Obama


Just in time for Halloween, the National Confectioner's Association talks to Politico in order to combat Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative. Their response? We're only 2% of the problem...

Business I

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

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

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

Front Groups


Timeline of Events From Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) Proposed Regulation to “Get Government Off Our Back” (GGOOB) Mobilization to Legislative Activity: 1994–2001
February 1994The FDA announces its intention to regulate tobacco as a drug; It begins an investigation into whether cigarette manufacturers designed their products to take advantage of the pharmacological effects of nicotine.
April 1994OSHA announces a proposed rule that would regulate indoor air quality in workplaces that allow smoking.
June 1994RJ Reynolds runs “I’d like to get government off my back” advertisement in national print media.
September 1994OSHA begins hearings on its proposed rule, which eventually draw more than 115 000 comments, most of which were solicited by the tobacco industry.
October 1994Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin proposes the creation of an ad hoc GGOOB coalition.
First identified press release for GGOOB (in North Carolina); introduces “GGOOB resolution.”
Beginning of 1995Roster of organizations that sponsor GGOOB modified to suggest a national focus; tobacco organizations no longer listed.
February 1995US House of Representatives passes a moratorium on new federal regulation as part of the Republican Contract With America.
March 1995GGOOB designates March as “Regulatory Revolt Month” and organizes rallies in 12 states.
US Senate debates moratorium on new federal regulation (comparable to US House bill).
OSHA hearings closed.
April 1995Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin writes follow-up memo regarding
GGOOB to RJ Reynolds and proposes additional mobilization.
August 1995Draft FDA rule announced; proposes restrictions on advertising to minors.
OSHA follow-up hearings closed.
January 1996OSHA comment period closed.
December 2001OSHA withdraws proposed rule.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Trump's take on PACs

Trump Interview on Face the Nation 10/25

The latest Iowa polls show Ben Carson in the lead, which Trump attributes to his PAC's inappropriate activity in Iowa. Trump accuses Carson of being controlled by his PAC, while in fact he has raised more small dollar donations than any other candidate, indicating strong grassroots support (see Ben Carson, top GOP fundraiser this quarter, sees huge grass-roots support). Trump also claims that the "people running his PAC are using that PAC differently than you're supposed to use a PAC...by running Iowa for him."

Trump proceeds to repeat numerous times that he has disavowed all PACs ("he is self-funding his campaign...other than small contributions") and believes that all other candidates should do the same. Further, he predicts "tremendous problems with PACs over the years."


(He begins his discussion of Ben Carson's PACs at 1:32)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Political Money IV

The 2012 Tale of the Tape

  • Hedge Funds  -- presidential spending patterns
  • Private Equity -- presidential spending patterns

    At National Journal, Reid Wilson reports on lessons from self-examinations by the Crossroads groups and the Koch network:

    • Spend Early: Though there weren't many Republican success stories in 2012, outside groups who analyzed their performance after Election Day believe their money worked best when it worked early. 
    • Know Your Voters: Republican outside groups believe the technology their party uses to identify and track voters is significantly behind the technology Democrats are using. 
    • Feel Their Pain: Donors to both the Crossroads organizations and the Koch organizations were taken aback, in a positive way, by the candor strategists have shown in acknowledging their shortcomings. And when an organization spends hundreds of millions of dollars on television advertisements, the fact that those advertisements were both boring and failed to connect with persuadable voters is a real shortcoming.
    • Stay In Your Lane: Every outside group is different, and each can fill a specific niche. On one hand, Crossroads is a small organization that promises donors the biggest bang for their buck; 97 to 98 percent of the money Crossroads brings in the door will go out in the form of political communications like television advertising, while the Republican National Committee spends somewhere around 30 percent of their donations on staff and overhead. Elements of the Koch operation, like Americans for Prosperity, pride themselves more on being a grassroots organization, sending volunteers and paid staff into the community to identify and persuade voters.
    • Be Accountable: Donors to both Crossroads and the Koch brothers' organization voiced frustration with another group doing its own, much more public, post-mortem, the Republican National Committee. At the Koch brothers' conference, donors grumbled that the RNC's Growth and Opportunity Project report wasn't introspective enough. When Crossroads makes the point that more of what they raise is spent on actual political communications than what the RNC raises, it is about winning over a larger slice of a finite donor base.

    The RNC Autopsy (Vogel 198-199) -- start on p. 43

    The Obama Legacy Report

    Matt Grossmann and David Hopkins explain the major difference between the parties:
    We argue that the two parties and their associated networks of activists, interest groups, and voters display significant differences in their organizational configurations and mass constituencies, resulting in distinct approaches to courting public support and governing the nation. The Republican Party is best understood as the vehicle of an ideological movement whose leaders prize commitment to conservative doctrine; Republican candidates primarily appeal to voters by emphasizing broad principles and values. In contrast, the Democratic Party is better characterized as a coalition of social groups seeking concrete government action from their allies in office, with group identities and interests playing a larger role than abstract ideology in connecting Democratic elected officials with organizational leaders and electoral supporters.
    Democrats & Demographics
    The GOP's 4 Faces 

    The 2016 Race

    Lobbyist Donors
    Super PAC Donors

    Student op-ed compares high driving culture shift to MADD's influence on drunk driving

    I'm writing about Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and this student op-ed from the University of Alberta caught my attention in a Google alert. Much of MADD's work and advocacy over the last 35 years has aimed not only to affect policy surrounding drunk driving in the U.S. and Canada, but also to change cultural and social norms about the perceived acceptability of drinking and driving. Thanks in part to MADD, there is more social stigma around drunk driving today than there was in 1980 when the group formed. As efforts in the U.S. and Canada towards legalizing marijuana move forward, it'll be interesting to see if similar groups -- or maybe MADD itself -- jump in with a similar kind of advocacy to highlight and stigmatize driving while high. From the op-ed:

    Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that between 1200 and 1500 drunk driving fatalities occur each year — this number must not go up if the number of people driving high goes up due to easy accessibility and lack of education about marijuana.  I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard “I drive better high.” The same was said about alcohol before the huge backlash against drunk driving. We don’t need a string of impaired driving-related deaths to spawn the necessity of a reaction like that of the MADD. Marijuana is already looked down upon as a negative substance by many, so don’t give those people another reason to want it pushed back into prohibition.  Driving drunk is becoming increasingly socially unacceptable as the years pass. Driving high needs the same taboo.

    Link: https://thegatewayonline.ca/2015/10/many-precautions-to-take-before-legalizing-marijuana/

    Americans Like the National Rifle Association

    Art Swift reports at Gallup:
    Despite a year of blistering criticism from gun control advocates about the National Rifle Association's hard-line stance against gun restrictions amid a spate of mass shootings nationwide, 58% in the U.S. have a favorable opinion of the NRA.
    In a year plagued with mass shootings, including a recent tragedy at a community college in Oregon, there has been a national debate as to whether the NRA, with its ardent support for gun rights, is somehow complicit in these shootings. For example, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has blamed the NRA for stifling the movement toward gun control. More broadly, some commentators in the news media and on social media have criticized the NRA for its theory that "a good guy with a gun" may stop "a bad guy with a gun" in mass shootings.
    Yet in a Gallup poll from Oct. 7-11, a solid majority of Americans (58%) say they have an overall favorable impression of the NRA. This includes the highest recording of "very favorable" opinions (26%) since Gallup began asking this question in 1989. In December 2012, soon after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, 54% of Americans had a favorable impression of the NRA. The highest percentage in Gallup's 26-year trend was in 2005, when 60% of Americans viewed the organization favorably.


    • Meredith C. NFL
    • Christina C NCAA
    • Maddie D. AARP
    • Annie H.  National Association of Realtors
    • Jessica J. Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
    • Shelby L. National Association of Police Organizations
    • Erin L. Trust for Public Land
    • John M. Lockheed Martin
    • Lizzie M. League of Conservation Voters
    • Kailas M. Eagle Forum
    • Shannon M. Mothers Against Drunk Driving
    • Bridget M. Amnesty International
    • Zachariah O National Cattlemen's Beef Association 
    • Abbe P. Home School Legal Defense Association 
    • Isabel S. Microsoft
    • Nathan T. UC System
    • Brittany W.  National Military Family Association

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015

    Economic-Elite Domination

    In case you have a shred of idealism left, you should check out one study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page published in 2014 that illustrates the influence income and wealth have in determining policy outcomes. Their work is based upon Princeton Professor Martin Gilens earlier work titled Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America (2012).

    Gilens and Page conducted an empirical study measuring influence of varying groups on 1,779 policy issues over a 20 year period. Testing the extent to which four independent classes of political actors (average citizens, economic elites, mass-based interest groups, and business-oriented interest groups) affect policy, the scholars predicted that the average citizen (median voter) has a "minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy" (575).  Economic elites (those in the top decile of income and wealth in the U.S.), on the other hand, have much greater power. While Gilens and Page may not have pinned down which economic elites wield influence (the ninth percentile versus the first percentile), there is no doubt that those at the top of the economic ladder "generally get their way" (573).

    If you feel like you missed out in your high-school government class, or you want a concise refresher to your intro-to-Gov course from college, this study offers a nice overview of four theoretical traditions that attempt to explain U.S. politics in action: Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, Majoritarian Pluralism, and Biased Pluralism.

    Below is a link to the study published on a Princeton site. Below that are two videos: one by Represent US, which visually breaks down Gilens and Page's conclusion, and another by The Daily Show, which shows an interview with the two authors.

    Gilens and Page: Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

    Represent US's Video

    Jon Stewart's Daily Show

    Saturday, October 10, 2015

    Landrieu Lobbying

    Megan R. Wilson reports at The Hill:
    The partnership behind a shuttered “clean coal” power plant has enlisted former Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to push for a revival of the federally-backed project.
    Newly filed disclosure forms show that Landrieu will be working for the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, a group of coal companies.

    It's her first lobbying client since joining law and lobby firm Van Ness Feldman in May.
    The coalition was formed to research and develop “near-zero emissions coal technology” that stores carbon dioxide underground. That project, called FutureGen 2.0, would refit a coal-fired power plant in western Illinois to inject emissions into a subterranean pipeline.
    The project dates back to the Bush administration, when it was abandoned because of costs. Although the Obama Administration authorized $1.1 billion for the effort as part of the stimulus package in 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) withdrew its support earlier this year. The government has only spent roughly $200 million of the pledged amount.
    “In order to best protect taxpayer interests, the Department of Energy has initiated a structured closeout of federal support for the project that will help maximize the value of investments to date while minimizing ongoing risks and further costs,” DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons said in a statement in February.
    The alliance did not immediately return a request for comment, nor did Landrieu.
    According to Senate ethics rules, Landrieu, who lost her seat in a highly contentious election last year, is banned from lobbying offices in the House and Senate for two years.
    She can, however, lobby the administration.

    Here is what the filing looks like. 

    Here is the lobby disclosure page.

    Among former Louisiana members now lobbying are former Rep. Bob Livingston, R-Metairie; former Sens. J. Bennett Johnston, D-La., and John Breaux, D-La., and former Reps. Billy Tauzin, R-Chackbay, Jimmy Hayes, R-Lafayette, Chris John D-Lafayette, and Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman.

    Thursday, October 8, 2015

    Political Money II

    Reviewing hard money:

    Outside money

    Second Assignment, Fall 2015

    Pick one of the items below.
    • Analyze a proposed reform of federal campaign finance law.  One may find a discussion and partial list of such proposals here.  For background and legislative updates (as well as more recent proposals), see https://www.govtrack.us.  Should Congress pass it?  Will Congress pass it?  In your answer, lay out the best arguments for and against the proposal, using statistical data wherever possible.
    • Vogel wrote Big Money before the 2014 election. Assume that he has hired you to write a brief afterword, updating his analysis through that election.  Did 2014 confirm his argument, or did the campaign finance picture change in ways that he did not anticipate?
    • Write on another topic of your choice, subject to my approval.
    • Document your claims. Do not write from the top of your head. 
    • Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than four pages long. I will not read past the fourth 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 23. 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.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015

    Political Money I

    Aerospace Industries Asssocation (and its PAC)

    Excerpts from Ballotpedia Timeline

    • 1883: The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act forbids government officials to solicit contributions from any civil service workers, or award these positions on anything but merit. 
    • 1907: The Tillman Act was passed, making contributions to federal candidates by corporations and national banks illegal. 
    • 1910: The Federal Corrupt Practices Act requires House candidates to disclose their finances. One year later, Senate and primary candidates also were required to disclose their finances, and expenditure limits were set for all congressional candidates.
    • 1921: In Newberry v. United States, the Supreme Court rules that the Federal Corrupt Practices Act is unconstitutional because the Constitution does not grant Congress the authority to regulate political parties or federal primary elections. As a result, spending limits were not longer required in Congressional elections.
    • 1925: Congress amends the Federal Corrupt Practices Act to include a ban on any corporation contribution to a federal campaign, candidates must disclose the source of contribution greater than $50, patronage is prohibited, and Senate candidates can spend $0.03 for each voter based on the previous election up to $25,000. House candidates are limited to $5,000.
    • 1939: The Hatch Act bans most federal employees from contributing to candidates in national elections and from participating in political activities or campaigns.
    • 1943: The Smith-Connally Act is passed, which prohibited unions from contributing to federal candidates. Prior to this law, unions had been using dues as political donations. The first political action committee (PAC) is established by the Congress of Industrial Organization, and union members voluntarily contribute to the PAC independent of the union.
    • 1947: The Taft-Hartley Act is passed, which banned corporations and unions from even making independent expenditures in federal political campaigns. As long as candidates promised not to use their primary money during the general election campaign or collect private donations, they could campaign with publicly funded dollars.
    • 1967: Congress officially begins to collect campaign finance reports, despite it being law for nearly 50 years.
    • 1971 Election laws: The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971 and the 1971 Revenue Act were passed, initiating fundamental changes in campaign finance laws. FECA required full reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures and also limited spending on media advertisements. In addition, FECA provided the legislative framework for PACs established by unions and corporations, which allowed unions and corporations to use treasury funds to establish, operate and solicit voluntary contributions for federal PACs.
    • The Revenue Act allowed citizens to check a box on their tax forms authorizing the federal government to use one of their tax dollars to finance Presidential campaigns in the general election. From the time this was first implemented in 1973, enough money had been collected to fund the 1976 election.
    • 1974 Amendments: Following the documentation of campaign abuses in the 1972 elections, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was established and given jurisdiction in civil enforcement, authority to write regulations and responsibility for monitoring compliance with FECA. The President, Speaker of the House and President pro tempore of the Senate were each allowed to appoint two voting members of the commission, and the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House were designated as nonvoting Commissioners.
    • The 1974 amendments also provided for partial Federal funding, in the form of matching funds, for Presidential primary candidates. Public funding was also extended to political parties to finance their Presidential nominating conventions. Congress also enacted strict limits on both contributions and expenditures for all federal candidates and political committees involved in federal elections.
    • Buckley v. Valeo: Portions of the 1974 amendments were challenged as unconstitutional, and a lawsuit was filed by Senator James L. Buckley against the Secretary of the Senate, Francis R. Valeo. The Court upheld contribution limits, but overturned expenditure limits, saying that limiting expenditures would limit the quantity of campaign speech, which in turn violated First Amendment rights. In addition, provisions of the law regarding public funding, disclosure and record keeping were upheld. The Court also found that the method of appointing members to the FEC violated the principle of separation of powers.  ALSO NOTE THE "MAGIC WORDS" FOOTNOTE
    • 1976 Amendments: In response to the Court's ruling, Congress repealed expenditure limits and revised the method of appointing Commissioners. Beginning in 1976, the President appointed six Commissioners, to be confirmed by the Senate. These amendments also included provisions to limit the scope of PAC fundraising by corporations and labor organizations by specifying who could be solicited for contributions, and how those solicitations could be conducted. In addition, a single contribution limit was adopted for all PACs established by the same union or corporation.
    • 1979 Amendments: Following the 1976 and 1978 elections, Congress further amended the law to include provisions to simplify reporting requirements, encourage party activity at state and local levels and increased public funding grants for Presidential nominating conventions.
    • 2002: The McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) was passed, which sought to limit the use of "soft money." Soft money is money raised by national parties and political action committees for "get out the vote" campaign efforts and other organization-building activities. This money wasn't regulated by the federal government, and parties were raising unlimited funds for these activities but using them for purposes aside from voter registration. Notably, 501(c) and 527 organizations were exempted from the soft money ban, though they were banned from running ads prior to primaries and elections, and from providing direct advocacy for a candidate.
    • 2003: The BCRA was sent to the Supreme Court via suits filed by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), the California Democratic Party and National Rifle Association, under the complaint that the law was too broad and limited their First Amendment rights. The Court upheld the law in McConnell v. The Federal Election Commission.
    • 2007: The Supreme Court reversed their on issue ads in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc, saying that limits on electioneering spending by nonprofits were unconstitutional.
    • 2008: Senator Barack Obama became the first presidential candidate from a major party not to take public financing for the general election, citing a broken system for his actions.
    • 2010: In Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court held that independent expenditures by corporations and labor unions were protected by the First Amendment, which struck down BCRA provisions that banned these types of expenditures. A few months later, the decision from Citizens United was applied to Speechnow.org v. FEC in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judges decided arguments that unlimited independent expenditures would lead to corruption were invalid after the Citizens United decision.
    • 2012: For the first time, both presidential candidates decline public financing. Also, the Supreme Court decided that Citizens United applied to Montana's 1912 legislation banning direct corporate political spending in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock.
    • 2014: The recent Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC ruled that aggregate contribution limits infringed on First Amendment rights. This decision removes a cap on the amount of money any single donor, including PACs, can give to candidates or party committees. Previously, the limit had been a total of $48,600 every two years for all federal candidates and an aggregate of $74,600 to political parties and committees. There is no limit to the number of PACs that can exist, so donors could theoretically increase their contributions to certain candidates considerably if they had enough PACs supporting them. The base limits for campaign contributions of $2,600 for individual candidates and $5,000 for PACs remain in effect.
    Hard money contribution limitsPACs and SSFs
    The Cost of Winning a Seat
    Campaign Funding Sources

    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    Law and Litigation as an Interest Group Arena

    A Lot More Litigation

    Citizen Suits
    • Clean Water Act
    • Safe Drinking Water Act
    • Clean Air Act 1970
    • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
    • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund)
    • Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977
    • Endangered Species Act of 1973
    • Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act of 1986- SARA Title III


    Legal Groups
    • Networking
    • Analysis
    • Litigation