The Interest Group Essay

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An interest group is a group that seeks a collective good, the achievement of which will not selectively and materially benefit the membership or activists of the organization. These organizations try to achieve at least some of their goals with government assistance. The difference between interest groups and political parties is that political parties seek to constitute the government, whereas interest groups try only to influence it. Some of the things that interests groups seek from government are information that affects the interests of the interest group, influence of the government policy, goodwill of the administrators who carry out the policy, and symbolic status. Some of the sources of interest group strength are…show more content…
Public interest lobbies form a linkage element between citizens and governmental elites. In lobbying they articulate what they perceive to be the issue positions of certain sectors of society. Public interest groups also play an important role in facilitating the political participation of their members and related attentive publics. By helping to bring new issues to the table, interest groups influence the shape of political agendas.

There are three basic reasons why government officials and their staffers will take the first step in contacting an interest group. First, interest groups may be the target of efforts to enlist them as supporters of a particular policy position. A member of Congress or an agency head may feel that a policy he is pushing is not receiving the backing it should from the private sector. He may try to persuade representatives of interest groups to become more active on behalf of the cause. Second, interest groups are valuable sources of political intelligence. They can provide information concerning the lobbying activities of all other interest groups, pros and cons, on the issue at hand. They can also act as eyes and ears for their friends in government. Third, people in government may come to interest groups for the purpose of obtaining substantive data with regard to an issue. Congressional and agency staffs rarely have time to gather all the information they need on their own. Interest groups can be useful in
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