Grassroots, Lobbying and Astroturfing Advertising Law

Topics: Lobbying, Federal Election Campaign Act, Political action committee Pages: 2 (745 words) Published: November 5, 2012
Research Assignment #2
Lobbying is a controversial branch of public relations that is both an important and relevant part of the United States legal system. A lobby is “a group of persons who work or conduct a campaign to influence members of a legislature to vote according to the group’s special interest.” Lobbyists are paid to petition the government for redress of grievances, a right that is protected by the First Amendment.

Another more comedic way the profession is defined in the movie “Thank You For Smoking” when the character, who is a lobbyist, says, “Most importantly, we have spin control. That’s where I come in. I get paid to talk. I don’t have an MD or Law degree. I have a baccalaureate in kicking ass and taking names.”

Grassroots efforts and campaigns are groups of people with similar views coming together, sometimes bringing a particular issue to debate. They normally represent a group’s political views and can become very well-known. The term “grassroots” implies that the movement is spontaneous and natural. An astroturf campaign can be defined as a “grassroots effort” that is actually a strategic marketing campaign financially backed by businesses and special-interest groups. It is a false front being paid for by someone with “deep pockets” and an agenda. The name “astroturf” is taken from the brand of false grass used in sports stadiums. A Political Action Committee (PAC) is a committee that campaigns for or against a political candidate or legislation. In 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act went into effect, prohibiting corporations and labor unions from contributing money from their treasuries to a political campaign. Under this act, they were also forbidden to provide any “in-kind” services to any candidate. A PAC is considered a separate unit of a corporation with its own treasury, so any individual wishing to contribute is permitted to. Lobbying, PACs, grassroots movements, and astroturfing are closely related...
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