Student Researchers: Scott O’Neil ,Melissa Bock, Morgan Burke, Anne Geiler, Katie McCartin, Ava Roebuck
Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley
Evaluator: Bruce Stinebrickner, Ph.D.
Incumbent politicians are giving as much as 50% of moneys raised specifically for their re-election campaigns to their party colleagues and national party committees. The idea is that incumbent politicians need to least money to campaign, as their seat is very secure. However, those same incumbents have seniority, which means the most access to choice committee spots and thus special interest cash.
These pass-alongs are a way for more established politicians to influence less established ones, and can also cement relationships with opposing politicians. “(New members) relationship to the senior members who are flush with cash is like the relationship of a homeless teenager, just off the bus in the big city, to a friendly fellow who offers food and a warm bed.
The influence of pass-alongs is even more relative when considering wealthy donors who have maxed out their contributions to one politician. That contributor can give money to a few politicians in safer races with a wink and a nod, knowing it will reach the desired candidate. Additionally, pass-alongs provide a way to mobilize large quantities of money for national party committees. For example, a single citizen can donate only $28,500 to party committees per cycle whereas a democrat from New York gave an average of $450,000 per cycle.
“Congressional Shell Games” Richard Viguerie and Mark Fitzgibbons, American Thinker, 922/08,