Interest Group Power and Tactics: A Specific Study of Political Action Committees in Michigan
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Interest Groups have expanded in prominence in the 1980's. The Moral Majority and the "new right" have drawn an intense amount of interest from the populace and media coverage. Christians, gays, environmentalists, small business and other formerly unorganized groups have banded together believing they can better gain their legislative goals by becoming an organized Interest Group. This occurrence has captured the imagination and curiosity of the populace, media and political scientists. All three of these groups ponder the same questions. What place do organized interest groups hold in our system? How much power do they have to impose their legislative goals against the general consensus? This research is designed to provide some insight into these basic questions. First, it provides an analysis of the development of group theory, the intellectual framework through which political scientists have understood and studied interest groups for years. Special emphasis will be given to the current perception of interest groups within the discipline, which has centered on the nature and use of interest group tactics. Second, it examines the use of one specific tactic, financial contr1butions to campaigns. This is a descriptive study designed to identify the significance of group contributions, their limitations under Michigan law and the groups that employ the tactic most effectively. Due to various constraints upon my efforts this analysis is by no means comprehensive in nature, more study. is needed in this area. However, some insight has been gained into the nature of group tactics and the research has proven valuable.