Interest Group and Lobbying

Interest groups are important actors in most political systems. As political parties become more broadly based, their inherent aggregating function means that fewer interests are actually articulated or advocated by the parties. Along with professional lobbyists, interest groups provide another means to channel citizens' concerns to policy makers and administrators. However, there are also significant concerns about the privileged access of the richer and better organized. Related problems emerge from the direct campaign donations made to politicians. On this page you will find material linking you to a variety of interest groups, as well as to the nature and regulation of lobbying.

For material specific to Canada, visit the Interest Groups and Social Movements page in Nelson's Canadian Politics on the Web.

Wikipedia ia a good starting point for basic information about how lobbying works in different political systems.

On a more practical note, the American Civil Liberties Union provides some revealing insights into how to Take Action in your community and some more material in their Activist Toolkit. This advice offers some generic guidance for lobbying and community activism, regardless of the issue involved.

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Interest & Lobby Groups
Have a look at the variety of firms listed in Yahoo!'s "political consulting" category, as well, this other listing of Canadian policy organizations and 'think tanks' actively involved in trying to influence the public policy agenda.

Examples of interest groups that lobby or campaign for favourable public policy changes include:

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Articles & Documents on Instances of Lobbying

Gavel to Gavel Fund-Raising Hearings - CNN's coverage of the hearings into U.S. campaign financing. See CNN's accompanying features:

Read an estimate of the very large amounts of money it is estimated that the tobacco industry has spent in lobbying politicians. Undermining Popular Government: Tobacco Industry Political Expenditures in California is a study provided by the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. See the related news item from Associated Press:

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