10 Oct 2022


Interest Groups’ Right to Freedom of Speech

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Academic level: University

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Interest groups are known to influence public policy without having to seek political control. Interest groups have become numerous in the United States in the recent years, and their activities have increasingly been experienced. Some people argue that these groups corrupt political parties and members of legislative bodies through contributions, for their own evil interests. Others defend interest groups as these groups often struggle to influence government policies on behalf of the public. The United States Constitution protects individuals in regards to freedom of speech. Interest groups get to practice their right to free speech by influencing public policies and policy making processes. In order to influence government policies and policy making processes, interest groups seek to use politicians or political parties. Some of the ways through which interest groups carry out their activities include lobbying, working during elections to elect sympathetic politicians, and conducting open propaganda. This essay will argumentatively talk about the right of speech in regards to interest groups. 

As mentioned above, interest groups' main way of influencing government policies is through contributing funds to political parties which then act on their behalf to influence government policies. Lobbying presents as a common practice by interest groups to achieve their mandate. Most political parties get funded by interest groups in order for them to perform their costly activities. One of these costly activities is the elections. Presidential candidates tend to use a lot of funds during elections to campaign all over the several states in the US. Approximately $600 million was spent in the 2012 United States general elections. Interest groups contributed a bigger percentage of this sum. Other than elections, interest groups influence law making processes by using political parties which take part in such processes. Many amendments have been influenced by interest groups who act remotely by using particular political parties. 

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Interest groups have those who criticize their activities as well as those who spiritedly support them. The critics are mainly suspicious about the personal interest of these groups and how they control and corrupt political processes. Some of the renowned critics against interest groups have said that these groups only give more money to wealthy individuals and politicians who have the power to corrupt policies and political processes. These groups use tactics and put concrete programs in place before offering funds to political parties. The critics look at the activities of the interest groups as business investments. According to the critics, interest groups have personal interests and always plan to gain some sort benefits after they have supplied their preferred political parties with funds. In the past, some top government personnel who have been kicked out of government offices have tried to use the ‘revolving door" through lobbying friends back in the government offices. Such acts have today been regulated by law. Critics of interest groups think that their freedom of speech in relation to political processes and policies should be regulated. 

Those who defend interest groups, on the other front, have several arguments to support their reasoning. First, the system through which interest groups voice their interests by using political parties to influence policy making activities is now much more open. Everyone agrees that in the past, actions of interest groups needed a little regulation. Today we have interest groups representing women, minorities, the aged, and the disabled among other groups in the society. The interest groups are currently performing effective lobbying for the benefit of the people whom they represent. They are therefore charged with voicing the interest of their members in a way that the government or the law makers can actually listen to them best. Using political parties to voice out their agenda and interests is a sure way of getting their interest heard. Additionally, supporting political parties whose agendas align with their interests ensures that their interests are considered when these political parties win in the elections. 

Today, lobbyists are required to register and also indicate the groups which they represent. Apart from these, the law also requires lobbyists or interest groups to file quarterly financial audits or statements. The law has also banned the issuing of gifts by lobbyists to members of the House. More and more laws have been put to regulate the actions of lobbyists and interest groups. 

In conclusion, interest groups have the right to freedom of speech just like any other American individual. The extent, to which interest group exercises their right to free speech by influencing political processes, requires some regulations. For this matter, it is clear that the freedom of speech accorded to interest groups may be regulated. Amendments have been made which have greatly minimized and restricted the actions of interest groups of lobbying members of the House and other politicians. For instance, a government official who has been kicked out of his position may not lobby those he had worked with in the same office. The amount of funding that a party or a candidate may receive from interest groups has also been regulated. Unregulated activities of the interest groups may lead to a situation where the wealthy and the influential members of the community preside over everything without considering the interest of the rest of the society. The right to freedom of speech in relation to interest groups may, therefore, face certain limitations. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Interest Groups’ Right to Freedom of Speech.


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