Interest Groups as Washington, D.C., Lobbyists - dummies

Interest Groups as Washington, D.C., Lobbyists

By Greg Rushford

Don’t work for a company, belong to a professional organization, or care about polar bears? An organization is still probably in Washington, D.C., lobbying for you. One of the largest and most influential organizations in Washington is AARP, which represents people age 50 and over on prescription drug benefits under Medicare, as well as age discrimination in the workplace.

Who else lobbies? Small towns and big cities, colleges and universities, churches, American Indian tribes, foreign countries . . . the list goes on and on. The breadth and diversity of organizations that lobby in Washington is truly astounding. Some are no more than one-person shoestring operations; others are multimillion-dollar behemoths with palatial offices on K Street.

While the popularity of the issue at hand, or the influence of the organization or lobbyist, often determines who gets heard and who struggles to squeeze past the congressional intern at the door, it’s no exaggeration to say that nearly every facet of civil society and the private sector is represented in one form or another.

A quick glance at the potpourri of trade associations and interest groups attests to this fact. Are you a fan of special occasions? Try the Greeting Card Association, and just to cover all your bases, the Envelope Manufacturers Association too.

If you’re a romantic, you may prefer the National Candle Association. Want to improve America’s relations with foreign countries and peoples? Try the British-American Business Council, or (for the more eclectic) the Uyghur American Association.

Want to protect your right to enjoy your beverage of choice? Support the American Beverage Association, the Tea Association of the United States of America, or perhaps the Brewers Association. Lobbyists are even represented by the American League of Lobbyists.