This volume analyses the interaction of business lobbyists, consumer critics, and government officials for the first time in 20 years. It offers important new insights and revisionist views about the impact of consumer issue networks in the making of public policy in Congress during the 1980s and 1990s. It shows how consumer groups lobby Congressional committees and their leaders and staffers to reform legislation in areas of critical concern. This text for undergraduate and graduate courses in American politics, business and government, lobbying and interest group behavior, and political sociology covers the expanding range and activities of consumer lobbyists in recent years and gives a short history of their role in Congressional decisionmaking from the Progressive and New Deal eras to the present. The study details their activities in terms of civic outcomes (campaign finance, interver funding, freedom of information); consumer protection (impure food, unsafe drugs, autos, toys, and household appliances); ecomic regulation and deregulation (airlines, financing services, trucking, and telecommunications); and highly politicized pocketbook issues (health care, tax, energy, income, and trade policies). Journalists, activists, and students of politics, business administration, and sociology will find the conclusions about consumers, businesses, and Congressional decisionmaking and the arguments for government and citizen activism arresting.
ARDITH MANEY, Department of Political Science, Iowa State University, has also served as Visiting Lecturer at the University of Glasgow and the University of Western Bohemia. She is the author of Still Hungry After All These Years: Food Assistance Policy from Kennedy to Reagan (Greenwood Press, 1989) and has studied consumer interests and interest-group politics at length. LOREE BYKERK, Department of Political Science, University of Nebraska at Omaha, has published professional journal articles about consumer interests and (with Ardith Maney) is completing U.S. Consumer Interest Groups: Institutional Profiles, a reference forthcoming from Greenwood Press in 1994.