Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 November 2009
This study examines corporate contributions through political action committees (PACs) to US Senate incumbents from 1978 to 1988 by those industries which have sustained substantial environmental compliance costs and consequently have an incentive to develop relatively precise targeting strategies. The findings suggest that party, ideology, regulatory costs, and challenger attributes play especially important roles in corporate allocation strategies. These industries pursue relatively precise, sophisticated campaign contribution strategies, which reflect these influences.
L'étude porte sur les dons financiers consentis par « political action committees » aux sénateurs des États-Unis en exercice entre 1978 et 1988 par les industries qui ont encouru des frais substantiels afin de se mettre en accord avec les lois sur l'environnement, et qui par conséquent ont intérêt à développer des stratégies relativement précises concernant leurs objectifs politiques. Les conclusions suggèrent que les partis, les idéologies, les frais d'administration et les caractéristiques des concurrents exercent une influence particulière sur les stratégies d'allocation de fonds pratiquées par ces sociétés. Ces facteurs expliquent pourquoi ces industries recourent à des stratégies relativement précises et élaborées touchant les contributions aux campagnes électorales.
6 We are forced to exclude the electric utility industry, although it is a significant cost-bearer, since comparable data on its capital as well as operating and mainte nance expenses were not readily available for all years covered by this research. See also Regens, and Elliott, , “Political and Economic Influences.”Google Scholar
7 The annual share of total corporate PAC money contributed to Senate incumbents by these industries ranged from a high of 19.5 percent in 1978 to a low of 10.9 per cent in 1980. In addition, these industries accounted for 13.8 per cent of corporate PAC contributions to incumbents in 1982; 17.6 per cent in 1984; 15.3 per cent in 1986; and 11.4 per cent of corporate contributions in 1988.
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22 The Green and Krasno scale incorporates professional, celebrity and elective and appointive political experience into one measure, with a maximum score of 8. Candidates who have held prior elective office are coded = 4. A candidate with elective experience has the score increased by one for each of the following attributes: incumbency; holding high office (Governor/House/Senate); prior run for this office (Senate); and celebrity status. Candidates who have not held prior office start at zero, with a maximum score of 7. Score increases by an additional + 1 for: party activist; having run for prior office; having run for high office (Governor/House/Senate); prior Senate campaign; professional status; appointive political office; and celebrity status. Biographic data on challengers were obtained from various election preview issues of CQ Weekly Report.
23 See Pindyck, R. S. and Rubinfeld, D. L., Econometric Models and Economic Forecasts (2nd ed.; New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981).Google Scholar
25 Since there was a small number of senators serving on both primary and secondary jurisdiction committees, some “double-counting” took place. Therefore, we specified a model in which any senator serving on a relevant legislative oversight committee is coded 1, otherwise 0. Membership is statistically significant (t= 1.64) and the sign is in the appropriate direction. The coefficients and signs of the other variables are virtually the same as shown in Table 1.
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28 See Eismeier, T. J. and Pollock, P. H. III, “Politics and Markets: Corporate Money in American National Elections,” British Journal of Political Science 16 (1986), 287–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The normal relationship between challenger quality and financial quality does not apply to the giving by these PACs. The bivariate relationship between experience and money from these PACs is very weak (R2 = .04).
29 See Grenzke, J., “PACs and the Congressional Supermarket: The Currency Is Complex,” American Journal of Political Science 33 (1989), 1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Masters, M. F. and Keim, G. D., “Determinants of PAC Participation among Large Corporations,” Journal of Politics 47 (1985), 1158–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Jacobson, G. L., Money in Congressional Elections (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980).Google Scholar
31 While the industries examined in this research are very concerned with environ mental legislation, they are concerned with other issues as well. As a result, we recognize that corporate PACs affiliated with firms in those sectors are likely to be driven by their entire range of high priorities in allocating contributions.