What The Politics?! Episode 50: Lobbying and social networks in Congress


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Relationships in politics are everything. Who you know, what you know and how you network. It’s a vital part to our democracy.

In this week’s episode, we examine how those relationships can form and how they benefit members from different sides of the aisle. Our special guest helps to define lobbyists and caucuses and how they play a huge role in developing these relationships.

We break down who has a bigger influence on elected officials. Is it the donors who sponsor them or is it their constituents who they represent? And finally we look at whether bipartisan politics possible. Would it truly be beneficial?

Referenced article “Financing Friends: How lobbyists create a web of relationships among members of Congress.”

This week we are joined by Dr. Jennifer Nicoll Victor, a professor from George Mason University. Victor areas of expertise invlude U.S. Congress, legislative organization behavior, social network methods, lobbying, and more. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis. Previously teaching at the University of Pittsburgh, Victor joined the faculty of GMU in 2012, and in 2019 she was awarded George Mason University’s Teaching Excellence Award.

Professor Victor is a co-founding contributor to the political science blog “Mischiefs of Faction,” and is a contributing writer for GEN by Medium. Professor Victor serves on the Board of Directors of the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, is the past president of the National Capital Area Political Science Association, and past Chair of the APSA organized section on Political Networks. She served as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress from September 2019 to January 2020. In 2005 she served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the office of Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND).

Co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Political Networks (2017)

Co-author (with Nils Ringe) of Bridging the Information Gap: Legislative Member Organizations in the United States and the European Union (U. Michigan Press 2013)

Take her class: Understanding US Government at Wondrium

Dr. Jennifer Nicoll Victor

New episodes of “What the Politics?!” come every Tuesday. Join the conversation! 

We want to hear from you! Send us an email with questions you want to be answered, topics you want to hear and guests you’d like brought on. We want you to feel just as much a part of this conversation as we are! 

Email either Emily, or Victoria: ECervarich@wnct.com ; ViHolmes@wnct.com or message them on Twitter: @emily_c_tv ; @VicAntHol.

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