Lobbies: Interest Groups and Industry Leaders
The influence of lobbies and interest groups in Washington politics is immense. Politics is ultimately a messy endeavor that involves a lot of money and conflicted interests. Sometimes those with the most money are most influential.Sometimes those who speak loudest are the only ones who get heard. These are the people looking for those instances where money and loud and intense lobbying can influence politics. These groups are made up of all kinds of people and organizations. Here's what they involve:
Producer Interest Groups: It is no secret that industries spend billions of dollars every year to try to sway politicians to their sides. Many companies stand to gain or lose a lot based on the actions made in Washington. New environmental regulations can cost large corporate factories millions each year; so it is natural for them to put individuals in place to protect their interests. Many industries have some sort of producer interest group, often a separate body who receives funds from its members, to help "protect" its interests from regulations that may harm its business. For example, the agricultural business has a strong lobby that spends millions each year to protect its steady flow of subsidies to farmers.
Unfortunately, these industrial lobbies tend to be negative towards environmental actions because environmental regulation normally curtails an industries freedoms. Fledgling businesses that may stand to benefit from environmentally friendly policies, such as subsidies supporting alternative energy, normally do not have the cash flow to support a large group of lobbyist, although they do exist.
Environmental Interest Groups: There are a host of interest groups that have varying degrees of influence in Washington. These groups keep full time lobbyist on staff in Washington to help fight for various causes. They raise money and support through every day citizens, like yourelf, who are concerned about environmental safety. There are any number of interests groups, each pushing for various causes within Congress.
How does lobbying work? It works in a very simple and almost stupifying way: lobbyists live in Washington and get paid to befriend politicians. They take them out to dinners, get to know their families, and explain their views in a friendly, yet influential, way. Their goal is to, in times of crisis--when an important bill is being considered in Congress--be able to call up a powerful member and have a heartfelt conversation that sways that member towards their views. In addition to this one-on-one influence they hold confrences and seminars to push their cause.