Extra Credit: Interest Groups effecting Elected Officials.
Interest groups are an important tool in which citizens in the United States can make their needs, ideas, and views known to elected officials. Citizens who associate with these groups often start at the local and state levels, and then combine into national organizations. In addition, a strong, independent judiciary in the American system enhances the power of interest groups. Oftentimes the U.S. courts rule on certain issues in other democratic polities, would be under the control of the legislature. So in return, interest groups can use litigation to achieve what they could not otherwise obtain through legislative action.
Many people would agree that the business plays a vital role in American politics. Because the elected officials are responsible for the economic performance of the nation, they sometimes fear that anti-business will harm that performance. So in a sense, that's where lobbying comes into place. Lobbyists are persuaders who handle the groups" legislative business. They are an important source of information. Many officials worry themselves with different issues in the area but lobbyists can get them to worry about only one issue, thus providing expertise in that particular area. Lobbyist can also come up with a campaign strategy and get people behind an official's reelection campaign.
The importance of money has been increasing over the past few years due to the costs of political campaigns. Interest groups that seem to be the most influential in the national elections usually make contributions to candidates in the amount of hundreds of dollars. That is why they get involved in electioneering, which is aiding candidates financially and getting group members to support them.
Interest groups are also interested in the public's opinion. Because the opinion of the public usually reaches the policymakers, interest groups often uses the image of the public and its opinion to their advantage whenever they can.