An interest group for our purpose is any organization, association, or group that is organized with a political purpose or object in mind. They are also known as lobbyists, political advocacy groups, pressure groups, associations, organizations, etc. Here is one website that lists them, http://votesmart.org/interest-groups/TX/#.UGrSHfl26Ho.
Pick a national or Texas interest group in which you are interested. That is to say, pick a group that does work in a political area that you want to know more about. Answer all of the following. Answers must be typed and should indicate the number of the question being answered. Make sure you include proper citation from the Internet for each answer. Do NOT cut and paste any part of any answers. You are to put each answer into your own words. The answers to every question may not be on their website—you may have to be industrious in finding the information. You may want to call the IG as a last option or just to chat.
Problems 9-11 are worth by far the most points in the assignments. Do not skip them!!!
1. Name of the interest group (IG).
2. Website address of the IG.
3. Phone number of the IG.
4. Address of the IG.
5. Year the IG was founded.
6. Write a one-paragraph description of the nature and purpose of the organization. This can be summarized from their “About” section. In your own words.
7. Name of current head/director/chairman/president of the IG. Brief description of the professional background of the individual. In your own words.
8. Find a piece of legislation that has been sponsored or advocated by the IG. This can be from any session of the Texas Legislature. If they are a major IG, odds are that they have sponsored some legislation—this will take some research as well.
9. Watch a video about the IG. This can be from the IG itself or can be from a news show about IG. This could include if someone from the organization was interviewed on a news show. These videos are often on the organization’s website. The video should be at least three minutes long. Include a website link to the video so that I may watch it as well. In at least one paragraph, summarize the arguments and claims made in the video.
10. Do a one-paragraph summary of an article or OP-ED that discusses the activities of your IG. It can be written by someone who works for the IG or by someone outside the IG. Summaries shouldn’t have any quotations; they should be entirely in your own words. Include a link to the op-ed so I can read it.
11. Think about all you have learned about the IG and answer the following questions in a four-paragraph essay (12 pt font, single-spaced).
a. What is your assessment of the goals of this interest group? Are their goals in the best interests of Texas? Why? Are their other goals they should have or goals that they do have they should abandon?
b. Specifically, how does this interest group try to achieve its goals? Do they tend to hold conferences, run ads, lobby legislators, publish articles or books, raise and spend money for and specific things? Different interest groups employ different methods…show me you understand how this interest group tries to achieve its goals.
c. Finally, has this interest group been effective in achieving its goals. This will require some research. Don’t just say yes or no. Provide data that show specific failures or successes of this interest group. Think about how one would go about evaluating the effectiveness of an interest group.