Researchers and political observers often assume that campaign contributions help political action committees (PACs) and their affiliated lobbyists gain access to members of Congress. But empirical studies demonstrating that contributions purchase access are extremely rare. In this paper, we compare the degree to which organized interests with PACs have more contact with members of Congress than groups without an affiliated PAC, and we also identify why PAC affiliates might have an advantage in making contact. Our empirical analysis is based on data we collected from a mail survey of lobbyists involved in one of four issues, and campaign finance data we obtained from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Our analysis indicates that PAC affiliated organizations contacted significantly more undecided committee members than non-affiliated groups. However, this lobbying advantage derives not from PAC affiliates' contributions but from the base of support these groups have established in congressional districts around the country.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science