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Influence of Interest Groups

The effect of the NRA on gun control legislation makes interest groups a popular topic in today’s news. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (Online / JA 61 C665 2003 WWW) defines interest groups as “Organizations seeking to advance a particular sectional interest or cause, while not seeking to form government or part of a government. The term is often used interchangeably with pressure group, and is being supplanted by non-governmental organization. Interest groups may occasionally contest elections as a tactic to influence political parties, but they usually rely on a variety of campaigning and lobbying methods to influence government policy.”

For a general overview on interest groups The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups (Dewey Library Reference JK 2261 O75 2010) is a good resource. This non-circulating copy can be located in the Dewey reference collection. Also in the reference collection is The New York State Directory (Dewey Library Reference JK 3430 N53X) which lists interest groups by subject area.

The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics is responsible for the regulation and underlying legislation when it comes to interest groups in New York. This commission ensures compliance with New York’s lobbying laws and discloses specific information on organizations attempting to influence governmental issues. Advice, guidance, training, education, investigations, and enforcement are all part of the commission’s responsibilities.

Project Vote Smart is an independent source of information when it comes to politics. Its goal is to inform voters about the truth on governmental issues. Their website provides a list of national special interest groups which reports on performance evaluations from special interest groups. Interest groups are categorized based on their mission statements.

In addition to the reference books already mentioned, there are several books at the University Libraries with more information on interest groups. Check out the following!

Interest groups in American politics: Pressure and power. Anthony J. Nownes. New York: Routledge, 2013.
University Library JK 1118 N68 2013

The Oxford handbook of New York State government and politics. Edited by Gerald Benjamin. New York: Oxford University Press, c2012.
Dewey Library Reference JK 3416 O94 2012

Governing New York State. Edited by Robert F. Pecorella and Jeffrey M. Stonecash. Albany: State University of New York Press, c2012.

An introduction to the policy process: Theories, concepts, and models of public policy making. Thomas A. Birkland.
Dewey Library JK 468 P64 B58 2011
Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, c2011.The government and politics of New York State. Joseph F. Zimmerman. Albany: State University of New York Press, c2008.
University Library Reserves JK 3451 Z54X 2008

New York State government. Robert B. Ward. Albany, NY: Rockefeller Institute Press, c2006.
Dewey Library JK 3416 W37 2006

If you have any questions about finding relevant materials at the Dewey Library, please contact our public administration and policy bibliographer Richard Irving. He can be reached by phone at 442-3698 or email.

Blog post created by Kathryn Farrell