Interest Group Internet Scavenger Hunt

Directions: In order to help you learn about the controversies of interest groups and their actions, go to the following links and answer questions so you can prepare for upcoming formal assessments. For much of this activity, we will be utilizing the resources of www.opensecrets.org.

I. Which Industry Supports Which Political Party?
1. Based on the data in this chart, make a list of comparing the top 5 industries that gave the most to each of the following political parties in the 2012 election cycle. List the amount they donated to that party. Your are encouraged to click on the different industries and read about their background; check out the 2008 cycle to see the money totals.

Industries that Supported the Democrats
Industries that Supported the Republicans
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

2. Research the Health Services/HMO (insurance) industry. Read the background information about the industry.
A. Who are the top four members of Congress that received contributions from this industry?




B. Who are the top three contributors to federal candidates and parties (2012)?




C. What trends do you observe about this industry’s spending on lobbyists?



II. Lobbying
3. What trends do you observe in the number of lobbyists and the amount of money spent on lobbying?



4. Make a list of the top five interest group spenders so far in 2011—include the amount of money they have spent on lobbying so far.
Top 5 Interest Groups
Amount of Money Spent (2011)
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

5. Describe the function of the interest group that has spent the most money on lobbying thus far in 2011 (you will need to use outside resources)




6. Make a list of the top three lobbying firms thus far in 2011 (based on money received for their services). Include how much money they have received thus far.
Top 3 Lobbying Firms
Amount of Money Received (2011)
1.

2.

3.


7. Read this article that SATIRIZES the lobbying industry and the US government
A. Summarize this article in three sentences or less.




B. What message is the author trying to convey?




III. The Revolving Door:
8. Explain the meaning of the phrase “revolving door”.




9. Look at the employment history of Trent Lott, why do you think he was hired to become a lobbyist?





10. Look at the employment history of Tom Daschle. How does he fit the profile of someone who has been utilized the ‘revolving door’?




11. What are the pros & cons of the “revolving door”? (Use your brainpower to analyze this controversial issue!)
PROS of Revolving Door
CONS of Revolving Door





IV. Political Action Committees (PACs):
12. Briefly explain the function of PACs?



13. Make a list of the top five PACS in 2008 —include the amount of money the PAC spent.
Top 5 PACS
Amount of Money Spent (2008)
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.


14. What are Leadership PACS?



15. Make a list of the top five Leadership PACS in 2010 —include the amount of money the PAC spent.
Top 5 Leadership PACS & Their Affiliate (politician)
List the Politician’s Leadership Position (if applicable—need to use outside research)
Amount of Money Spent (2010)
1.


2.


3.


4.


5.



V. 527 Groups:
16. What [[http://projects.publicintegrity.org/527/default.aspx?act=faq\|important rule]] must an organization follow in order to be called a 527?




17. Why are these groups called ‘527s’?



18. Describe the trend of 527 organization receipts from 2004-2010



19. Watch this political advertisement. How can you tell this ad was created and paid for by a 527 organization?




VI. The Top 11 Things Every Voter Should Know About Money-In-Politics:
Directions: Read through each of the 11 Things and answer the question that corresponds with each “Thing”.
Write down the “Thing”
Answer the Questions Below
1.
How do Congressional committee assignments strategically affect how interest groups donate money to members of Congress?
2.
Why do major donors tend to donate more to incumbent Congressional candidates?
3.
Describe the trend in the cost of beating a House incumbent candidate.
4.
Why do politicians care more about big donors compared to small donors?
5.
List some of the campaign donation trends listed:
6.
Why does an interest group care about developing a long-term relationship with a member of Congress?
7.
Why is there so much pressure for members of Congress to constantly be fundraising?
8.
What is one reason why the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) is considered relatively weak?
9.
How did the Citizens United v FEC decision affect the rules of campaign contributions?


What is an independent expenditure?
10.
How do interest group ratings affect members of Congress?
11.
Besides money, what are some other factors that help politicians get elected?