Unit 3 Group Project

On February 27, 2018, in Assignments, by lwaddell

AP US Government
Lobbying, PAC, and Campaign Finance Group Activity

             Outside Lobbying is a process by which interest groups seek to use public pressure to supplement inside lobbying.  Through this process, interest groups are able to bring public or “outside” pressure as a means to influence policymakers.  Using grassroots lobbying and electoral action (votes and money), groups seek to apply pressure to the legislative and executive branch.  Please complete the following tasks in order to gain a better understanding of this process.


Grassroots Lobbying

  1.  Define grassroots lobbying:
  2. Give some examples of grassroots lobbying techniques.
    1. 1st example-


    1. 2nd example-


    1. 3rd example-


  1. Go to madd.org/history and browse the articles.  How and why was this group successful in using grassroots lobbying?


PAC Contributions

            Political Action Committes (PAC’s) are typically formed by interest groups as a fundraising arm that serves to make campaign finance contributions to candidates.  Differing from interest group dues that are used to pay for the organization and inside lobbying process, these funds are collected from voluntary contributors and are documented/limited by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).  Complete the following tasks to help better understand the influence of PAC’s


  1. Click on “Influences & Lobbying”; then “PAC’s”
    1. 1st Task:  Top PAC’s
  1. Who are some of the top PAC contributors for 2017-2018?


  1. Who are the top Democrat and Republican contributors?


  • What links do you see to what party?

2nd Task:  Leadership PAC’s

1.What are Leadership PAC’s?

2. What is their obvious connection?

3rd Task:  Foreign-Connected PAC’s

  1. What are Foreign-Connected PAC’s?

2. Who are some of the top contributors?


  • What countries/regions are some of the top contributors?


  1. Click on “Politicians & Elections” then  “Congress”; then  “115th Congress (2017-2018)”
    1. 1st Task:  Find your U.S. Representative:  2017 Data
  1. Total $?
  2. Total PAC $?
  • Of PAC #, from where?

2nd  Task:  Find each U.S. Senator:  (Most Recent Election Cycle)

  1. Total $?
  2. Total PAC $?
  • Of PAC #, from where?


Campaign Finance:  Historical Change

Because of the increased power and influence of money in elections, a variety of campaign finance laws and Supreme Court rulings have been issued in the last 40 years to create a fair system.  Many of these laws and rulings have had a significant impact on  interest groups and the contributions of Political Action Committees (PAC’s) in elections.

Go to http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/fecfeca.shtml and answer the following questions as they relate to campaign finance law.

  1. Click on “Historical Background
  2. What was the significance of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971/1974?
  3. What was the significance of Buckley v. Valeo?


  • What was the significance of the Biparisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) [also known as McCain-Feingold]?
    • Click on “Contribution Limits”
  1. What are the amounts for the 2017-2018 election cycle that PAC’s (multicandidate) may contribute?


  1. In response to the restrictions placed on interest groups and the financial limitations of PAC’s, a variety of “alternative” advocacy groups have arisen “outside” of the aforementioned system.  The Supreme Court has decided  in a number of rulings (Citizens United v. FEC [2010]; SpeechNow.org v. FEC [2010]) to allow these groups to exist.  Their influence in recent elections has increased substantially.  Many of these groups are linked to interest groups.
  1. Define Super PAC’s:


  1. What limitations exist for Super PAC’s


  • How much spending have they done in the 2012 election cycles?
    1. 2012:


  • Choose one of the top spending Super PAC’s and explain its influence.


1. Define 527’s

2. What limitations exist for 527’s


  • How much spending have they done in the 2012 election cycles?
    1. 2017:


  • Choose one of the top spending 527’s and explain its influence.


    • Go to http://www.opensecrets.org/; click on “Influence and Lobbying”, then “527’s”; then “Other Information”; then “Types of Groups”.

1.Define 501(c)

2.What limitations exist for 501(c)’s?

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