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U.S. Politics and Policy: Interest Groups and Lobbying

General Resources


Think Tanks

Think tanks are institutions affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and businesses that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity. 

Example Think Tanks

Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)

NGOs, or Non-Governmental Organizations, are non-profit organizations working on humanitarian, human rights, and sustainable development issues worldwide.

Example NGOs

Lobbying, Interest Groups, and PACs

  • Lobbying - Direct contact made by a lobbyist in order to persuade government officials to support the policies their interest group favors.  A high profile lobby example is the National Rifle Association.     
  • Interest groups - A group of people with common goals who organize to influence the government.
  • Political Action Committee (PAC) - An organization formed to provide financial support for political candidates. A PAC is local or state based.  For example, the Dallas Police Officer's Political Action Committee(DPOPAC) provides financial support for and endorses state and local candidates. 

Evaluating Organizations

Being non-profit or even being humanitarian does not mean that an organization does not have a bias in favor or against a certain subject, industry or policy. Just because an organization has a bias does not mean that you would not use information from them.

  • Check the "About" page to understand the mission of the interest group.
  • Do some searching on Google to see what more you can find out.
  • Check to make sure that any research conducted was well done.
  • Look for other groups that may have different positions.
  • Find out who funds the organization. Be aware that some think tanks are run by corporations as a way to generate positive public relations.