Collection of Engaged Learning


Dr. Michael Lusztig

Publication Date



Politics is a game of numbers. 270, 50.1, and 218—these are all figures which weigh heavily on the minds of elected officials as they make decisions in Washington, D.C. The process through which these officials make these decisions is subject to particular attention, especially the various forces which weigh on this decision-making. One of these very forces is induced by interest groups, typically represented by lobbyists. Over the past several years, the role of special interests and lobbyists in the United States government has come under increased scrutiny. Specifically on Capitol Hill, these lobbyists routinely pack committee hearings, markups, and galleries of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. More than simply observe the proceedings, these organized interests utilize their extensive resources—from money to information to personnel—to persuade politicians to act favorably to the groups from a policy perspective; those who do so are rewarded. From national pharmaceuticals to California wine growers, almost every company and trade association has lobbyists on Capitol Hill, with cumulative expenditures on lobbying totaling $2.8 billion in 2007—almost double the amount less than a decade previously. With so many lobbyists promoting their legislative priorities in the halls of the United States Capitol, it seems apparent that interest groups wield influence over elected officials; however, what is debatable is the question of how much this influence affects the American legislative process (Davidson, Oleszek, and Lee 2010, 390).

Document Type



Engaged Learning 2014, Washington, DC., United States Congress, Pubic Policy, Interest Groups, Lobbyists, United States House of Representatives, United States Senate, Internship, Influence


American Politics | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


13 pages




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