I show that U.S. corporate elites use contributions to political campaigns as a tool of political influence by leveraging a new panel on the contributions to members of U.S. Congress (MCs) from 401,557 corporate leaders of 14,807 U.S. corporations over 1999-2018. Donations increase by 11% when a politician is assigned to a committee dealing with policy issues relevant to a corporate leader's company. The effect is driven by donations to MCs with the greatest power in the committees. I estimate that, absent an influence motive, donations from corporate leaders during this period would have been lower by $20 million.
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© 2023 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology