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Conditional Party Government and Campaign Contributions: Insights from the Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverage Industries


Andrew J. Taylor is Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, North Carolina State University, Box 8102, Raleigh, NC 27695-8102 (


I examine whether tobacco and alcoholic beverage PAC giving in the 1975-to-2000 period has followed trends inferred by the conditional party government (CPG) model. I look specifically at these PACs because they should be especially sensitive to shifting veto points in the legislative process and, consistent with CPG, contribute increasingly more to the majority party and its leadership and relatively less to members of relevant standing committees. My results show both sectors to give more to leadership as party becomes more important. Increasing CPG, however, generally results in greater giving by tobacco to members of the majority party and relatively larger contributions from alcoholic beverages to committee members and their chairs. I reveal a principal cause of this difference to be issue salience and conclude by arguing that contributions from some PACs are reacting to increased partisanship in the House but PACs interested in issues of relatively low salience still behave as if dealing with a chamber organized along distributive lines—a development that is consistent with CPG.

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