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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Reach Out and Buy Someone: Do Telecommunications PAC Contributions Affect Legislative Votes?
Thomas, Adam Timothy
REPORT 1999 T361 Public Affairs Library

This report analyzes the relationship between campaign contributions and legislative votes. Specifically, it focuses on Political Action Committee contributions on behalf of local and long distance telephone companies, examining the effect of such contributions on Senators' voting behavior with respect to three key amendments to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In order to account for the theoretical simultaneity of the relationship between PAC contributions and votes, a modified Two-Stage Limited Dependent Variable model is employed. Ultimately, I find that, while PAC contributions were correlated with Senators' votes, they had no direct causal effect on voting behavior. Notwithstanding this conclusion, I also find that the PACs in question were attempting to use campaign contributions as a means of influencing votes, even though those efforts ultimately seem to have been unsuccessful. A recurring theme throughout this report is that the world of campaign finance is an exceedingly complex one, and further research and debate is therefore necessary in order appropriately to address the important analytical and normative questions raised by the issue of campaign finance.


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