11/11 Discussion Post/ and student response

This is a class discussion post that needs to be approximately 2-5 paragraphs in length. 

***Discussion Post should be followed accordingly each question asked needs to be answered.

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********I will post the students response below.  With the Student response it should be 1 paragraph in length reply to the students disccusion.







********************Discussion Post*****************

While we may typically think of special interests in terms of citizen advocacy groups like the NRA or PETA, legislative pressures today largely come from corporations. 

Identify a for-profit business you have personally patronized in the last 3 days. This can be a physical store, an online merchant, a gas station, a fast food establishment, etc. Do some research on this corporation’s lobbying efforts. How involved/vocal are they in shaping legislative policies, either at the national or local level? What issues do they generally advocate for or against? How many lobbyists does this organization employ (either in-house or via contracting with outside lobbying firms)? Do they contribute money to certain parties, candidates, or PACs? Does anything in their lobbying or contribution record surprise you? Provide links to interesting findings.

Note: If you are struggling to find information about your selected corporation look to the lobbying efforts of their parent company (e.g., Amazon owns Whole Foods, Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands, Inc.).

************************ Student Response #1 ***************************

Mcdonalds is worth over $100 billion and have been around for decades. Mcdonalds has a long history of political activity in the United States. For example, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Mcdonalds was “fighting Congress in recent years over nutritional requirements, labeling information and advertising”.  This would make sense because Mcdonalds wouldn’t want more regulation on themselves possibly costing them profit. They have not been on mainstream media calling for action, but they have been behind the scenes. 

Mcdonalds has been in the political sphere in many different ways. They only have about 19 lobbyists on the ground doing work for them but their primary political activity is money. They have a long history of giving money to political committees and candidates for office. They do not give to only one party, but both major political parties. In 2016, Mcdonalds gave Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump money for their bid for the Presidency. However, there is historical evidence that Mcdonalds gives more often to Republicans than Democrats. They would only give money to candidates that serve the interest of Mcdonalds’ will, and Republicans tend to be for limited regulation on businesses. Major political candidates in 2018 Mcdonalds gave to are Rick Scott for the Florida Senate, Bill Cassidy for the Louisiana Senate and countless of Republican Congressmen. 

It surprises me how much money they have given to political candidates. Mcdonalds gives between 500K to over a million dollars in money solely to Political campaigns in the most recent elections between 2008-2018. I’m sure they will stay just as active in politics in the coming years. 

************************ Student Response #2 ***************************

Amazon is one of the biggest companies world wide. It is no surprise that Amazon is a major player in the lobbying game. Amazon has intertwined itself so far into the government that its influence reaches further than almost any other company in Washington. Amazon’s cloud-computing business is one of the biggest government contractors with estimated 1.5 billion in contracts (https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-amazon-became-one-of-washingtons-most-powerful-players-1529509628). Amazon lobbies to keep government from interfering in the marketplace, reducing restrictions on pricing, inflation, and other trade restrictions. Amazon has been known for years now, for undercutting prices and putting local retailers out of business. This got even worse when Amazon prime and Amazon Now allowed for its users to get products delivered in 2 days or less, sometimes in just one hour. The founder of Amazon made a point to advocate for his company from the start. One of the current items on the agenda that the lobbying group is fighting for is to convince the government to allow government employees to purchase their needed supplies through amazon. This is just another way to entrap the government, and ensure profits. Amazon has over 100 lobbyists in different lobbying companies that are fighting for tax policies, trade policies, internet policies, grocery rules, music licensing, and so much more. Amazon’s super force of lobbyists has made it hard for other companies to take a stand against them, even Google has lost to Amazon in bids for government contracts. Last year alone, Amazon spent over 13 million dollars on lobbying for their political causes, this is more than they had ever spent before. Amazon is not just stopping there, Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon, also has a private rocket company he intends to use to monopolize on government contracts for space exploration and travel. There is nothing that Bezos has not thought of, and when you begin to research it, you begin to see that Amazon is manipulating government officials and legislation to their benefit in order to continue to grow their company, destroying thousands of small businesses in its way. Amazon has also released that its second headquarters could potentially be in Washington, bringing over 50,000 jobs to the area, providing political officials with more motivations to be swayed by Amazon’s persuasion tactics.

Amazon has their own lobbying group that they employ, and it is one of the largest in Washington. Amazon also has its own PAC that it uses to contribute funds to different members of congress across the country. Amazon is not afraid of spending money to ensure their interests are protected. (https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cycle=2018&cmte=C00360354)


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