Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. John Clark

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Hoffman

Third Advisor

Dr. Lawrence Ziring

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Unlike other ethnic communities in the U.S., such as the Jewish and Hispanic communities, the political power of the Arab American community is largely unknown. Therefore, one manner to gain insight into the political power of Arab Americans is to study the interest groups that represent their ethnic community. This study uses the Arab American Institute as the leading Arab American interest group.

The study recognizes that there are three important variables to determining Arab American influence. The first is voting and is not examined in this study. The second two, which are examined, are direct lobbying on Congress and political action committee contributions to candidates for public office. Using interviews with staff of members of Congress and data from the Federal Elections Commission, the study is able to determine the level of influence of the Arab American Institute on Congress.

The findings of the study are mixed. The interviews with the Congressional staffers reveal that even though they have different perceptions of Arab American interest groups, a common theme emerge that suggests that this community has little influence on members of Congress. Yet, the results of the PAC contributions yield a different result. The findings point out that members of Congress, who have received campaign contributions from a PAC associated with the Arab American Institute, are far more likely to vote in a manner favorable to the position of the Arab American Institute.