Sharing the Wealth: Member Contributions and the Exchange by Damon M. Cann

By Damon M. Cann

Records the ever-larger sums donated through incumbent individuals of Congress to their events and different applicants, and discusses the results.

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Additional resources for Sharing the Wealth: Member Contributions and the Exchange Theory of Party Influence in the U.S. House of Representatives

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Indeed, Aldrich (1995) contends that members adopt a partisan identification specifically because it is in their best interest to do so. Historically, party leaders who exercise their powers such that it is beneficial for members to support the party are particularly effective (Cooper and Brady 1981). In their party cartel theory, Cox and McCubbins (1993, 1994, 2005) contend that certain powers (particularly negative agenda control) are simply inherent to majority party leadership, regardless of the distribution of preferences in the chamber.

S. House 41 in Congress. The results of these inquiries can be summarized rather simply— there is little (if any) direct evidence that campaign contributions have a general effect on the way in which members of Congress vote. Chappell (1982) and Grenzke (1989) demonstrate that while there is a correlation between interest group campaign contributions to members of Congress and how those members vote, that correlation exists because groups contribute to members who already agree with them. Wawro (2001) exploits the temporal nature of votes and labor union contributions and again finds that campaign contributions do not change legislators’ votes.

However, scholars have not yet firmly determined how voting unity and fund-raising capacity affect the selection of many other influential positions in the House, including committee and subcommittee chairs. If parties establish ideological and pecuniary support benchmarks for leadership candidates, they may be able to induce members of Congress who seek power in Washington to support the financial and policy goals of the party. The 2004 race for Senate minority leader shows that financial support may be, in some instances, even more important than ideology.

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