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CAS PO 331 Chapter Notes -Advocacy Group, Procedural Control, Opportunity Cost


Department
Political Science
Course Code
CAS PO 331
Professor
Kate Krimmel

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National policy favors the upper class, which makes it against the interests of US democracy
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Schattschneider: Inequalities between private organized, upper-class groups on the public unorganized,
lower-class groups
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Grenzke: PAC contributions do not affect voting patterns
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Wright: PACs do not have the ability to determine congressional voting
PACs do not influence floor voting but flourishes at the committee level
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Member's vote is not the currency
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Bauer, Pool and Dexter: Member's principle problem is not how to vote but how to allocate his
resources, time and energy
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Denzau and Munger: Interest groups-member relationship is an exchange of contribution for electoral
support of legislative effort
PACs are decentralized and disburse money into local congressional elections, not specific
legislation in mind
But most money raised in fund raisers are for an ultimate purpose that will increase their net
political benefits
Money should be spent on swing voters to maximize marginal utility
Using money to solely affect election is not rational
Berry, Gopoian and Schlozman: Money does not buy votes, but "access" to members and their
staffs which in the end, can affect legislations in their favor
I.
The Rational PAC Revisited
Why do groups allocate scarce resources to efforts where the expected political benefits are so
low?
If PAC contributions influence member votes, why do groups contribute the most to the strongest
supporters and opponents?
Demobilizing as in not actively opposing
Participation is more important than voting
Voting choice is constrained, but how they allocate their time, staff and capital is
discretionary
PACs have a tendency of contributing heavily to members who are almost certain to
win reelection and almost certain to support their view
PAC allocation strategy is not only direction of legislators' preferences, but the vigor in
which the preferences are promoted in the decision making process
Denzau and Munger: Interest group resources are not meant to buy votes or influence elections,
but to mobilize legislative support and demobilize oppositions
Changing votes may have an appearance of impropriety
Kingdon: Member's voting is constrained by their past voting pattern, consistency is valued in the
congress
Money spent in committees is the most efficient because provisions not in the committee
vehicle are hard to attach
Nature of the committee assignment process gives a high probability that interest groups
will find a sympathetic audience in the committee stage
Influence at the committee levels are less visible but members are still constrained by
How should PACs distribute their resources?
II.
The Rational PAC Revisited
Does money matter?
"Buying Time: Moneyed Interests and the Mobilization of Bias in
Congressional Committees" -Hall, Richard L. and Drank W. Wayman
Sunday, March 23, 2014
10:45 AM
PO 331 Page 1
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