What do campaign contributions buy? Lobbyists' strategic giving
Interest Groups and Advocacy
© The Author(s) 2018. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Scholars looking for evidence of corruption in Congress have focused on the data available to them: the limited contributions of political action committees. This literature has largely failed to identify systematic money-induced legislative behavior. But what if lobbyists are using their personal funds to contribute to congressional campaigns? I use newly available data to show that individual lobbyists make contributions in predictable ways, favoring key members at key times. In particular, health care lobbyists were significantly more likely to give to members of the committees drafting the Affordable Care Act relative to other members and other times. The findings represent an important step forward in understanding what actors who are interested in legislative decisions might expect in return for their campaign contributions.
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