North Central College - Naperville, IL

Ethics, Interest Groups, Political Process

The Ethics, Political Interest Groups & The Political Process class studies the rise of interest groups and their enormous effects on the American political system. The course explores the workings of various groups related to how they target potential members, lobby Congress and other governmental bodies, and conduct campaigns to advance their interests. The ethical dilemmas of such activities, including the often corrosive effect of money and the often uneasy relationship of interest group activity and federal regulation, will also be a major concern.

This course will provide an understanding of the history and influence of public interest groups, an ability to analyze the processes and impact of public interest groups, and an understanding of central and ethical and public service issues relating to public interest groups. This course will cover the origins of interest groups, interest group development and maintenance, targets, money and funding, as well as federal regulations, ethics, lobbying and the integrity of the democratic process.

Coursework may include students facilitating a critical discussion that incorporates the course readings and applies the key concepts to the readings. Students may write a research paper about an interest group that actively participated in the most recent presidential election, and answer the various questions the course has presented.