When Money Matters

Campaign Contributions, Roll Call Votes, and School Choice in Florida

Published in: State Politics and Policy Quarterly, v. 6, no. 2, Summer 2006, p. [195]-219

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005

by Louay Constant

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This effect of campaign contributions on legislative roll call voting has long been the subject of debate. This study weighs into this debate by examining the impact of teachers' union contributions on votes on two school choice bills in the Florida House of Representatives during the 1998 and 1999 sessions. I find that different types of school choice bills evince different effects of campaign contributions from teachers' union. Specifically, campaigns contributions appear to influence voting on bills that are most important to a group's policy agenda but have no effect on bills most peripheral to their interests. Additionally, legislators receiving campaign contributions from teachers' unions were significantly more likely to vote against vouchers than against charter schools, even after controlling for other influences on their votes.

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