美國的非政府組織最早是由教會之概念所發展，至後來經由政治、經濟及總統政策而日趨發展成熟，並且運用遊說技巧將非政府組織之公共利益以呼籲或抵制之方式影響政策之制定。本文之研究個案---台灣人公共事務協會(Formosan Association for Public Affairs, FAPA)即是以遊說方式在國會山莊進行草根遊說的非政府組織，並在遊說法規的規範與該組織的宗旨之下，達成其目標，然而該組織遊說策略之方式與價值，亦是本論文研究之重點。
Check and balance of executive, legislative, and judicial branches have always represented the essence of the U.S. politics. Members of the U.S. Congress are elected directly by the constituents and thus, the public opinion can be easily communicated to the top political echelons, i.e. the congressmen. This phenomenon creates space for public lobbying.
Originally, lobbying used to be a domain of people with large money. In fact, it appeared that lobbying was somehow a privilege of the rich people and moneyed businesses that formed interest groups. However, when only a small group of people enjoys leverage with politicians, it undermines democracy in the U.S. True representative democracy means that the ruling class is able to listen to people’s opinion, and make reasonable adjustments to policies, respecting the needs of the people. In order to make their case stronger, people form groups that advocate certain issues to the political elites. Such issue-oriented groups are called non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their activity is primarily focused on gathering support and lobbying at the high-level officials for the issues concerning the NGO.
The NGOs are often called the third sector, because they make up for the gap between the first sector, the government, and the second sector, businesses. - The second sector mostly focuses on the private interest. Thus, NGOs step in to take care of some issues, which might be otherwise ignored by the politicians. As the time went by, NGOs developed in the U.S. public sector. Once NGOs were able to mobilize people at the grassroots and collect persuasive information to establish a compelling case to the political leaders, lobbying stopped being a privilege of few people. Increasingly, as people were able to organize around important issues, it became easier for their opinions to reach the Capitol Hill.
This thesis is taking Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), an interest group, as a case study to describe how a U.S. NGO can mobilize the grassroots and lobby on the Capitol Hill. FAPA’s major goal is to promote self-determination, human rights, and democracy for Taiwan. While analyzing this organization’s role and effort, we must also understand the complicated relationship among the U.S., Taiwan and the People’s of Republic of China. Due to the complicated interrelation among the three, FAPA’s effort at the Capitol Hill - the effort on behalf of the Taiwanese people - is full of challenges, the primary one being the fact that Taiwan is not recognized as a de facto country, as a full member of international community. Still, since Taiwan’s society is a democratic one, the Taiwanese people have the right to use all legitimate means to fight for their existence and Taiwan’s rightful place in the world. And this is the essence of lobbying in a truly democratic country.