Seminar Paper

Submitted By jpalexander14
Words: 1891
Pages: 8

John Jongbloed
Paper Topic- Revision

PAC Contributions and Congressional Elections:
The True Impact

Research Question:

How much money do Political Action Committees actually contribute to political parties for congressional elections and does it truly have an effect on the outcome?

The answer to this question seems to be growing in importance in recent years due to the ever-present role of these committees in politics. I will utilize a variety of sources such as Political journals, famous writings, and the books in the course to first, lay out the general background information on interest groups in politics and the trends of their influence. Next, lead us to the concentration on contributions to party candidates and campaigns. Finally, they will be used to highlight the impact of these contributions on elections in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. These scholarly works will be analyzed and extended upon to serve in support my overall hypothesis.

Background, trends, and the focus on contributions-

1. Allan J Cigler and Burdett A. Loomis, Editors, 2012. Interest Group Politics, Eighth Edition. Washington D.C. CQ Press

This initial source will serve to aid in depicting the evolving role of Interest groups in American politics throughout history. These contributions are not a new occurrence, however, interest groups have been becoming increasingly influential in U.S. politics since the 18th century. More specifically, the book points out the “growing amount and impact of essentially unregulated money from organized interest (pg. 3) This adds a new dimension to the issue of determining the effect of PACs and the growing amount of money in politics. It is a means to identify the reasons why and where these committees spend their money.

2. Darrell M. West and Burdett A. Loomis, 1999. The Sound of Money; How Political Interest Groups Get What They Want. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.

This books outlines many of the changes experienced in the world of interest groups and describes the overall increase in the numbers of interest groups as well as their levels of political engagement in the past 40 years. More specifically, the authors introduce the notion of increasing political activity, including contributions to candidates, among businesses and organizations since the 1970’s and 80’s. Also discussed is the diminishing distinction between what is known as “inside” and “outside” lobbying and the subsequent loss to the influence of regulations. The information concerning the prevalence and influence of investments in congressional candidates within this source also supports the idea of focusing on the political contributions of these groups.

3. Truman, 3, (pg. 112-115)

It seems that there are many more social issues and hand and the country is more polarized than ever. In Truman’s writings he introduces the idea of potential groups as being politically significant because they represent some of the more widely held beliefs and are able to organize and “aggressive counteractions” if the interests are “too flagrantly ignored.” (112). Truman also introduces the idea that potential groups will also form if particular rights are threatened or politicians violate the “rules of the game.” For the sake of my argument I find it best to continue to acknowledge these potential groups as preventing politicians from acting in certain ways that go against widespread views of constituents. However, since this threat is always in existence and can provide no clear support for or against any candidates, it is more critical to investigate the PACs that contribute to congressional campaigns. This also makes the most sense because the views of the potential groups or at least ones similar are undoubtedly held by some of the PACS s on that side of the political spectrum.

Relationship between politicians / public policy process and PACs-

4. David R. Mayhew, 1974.