IRS Intimidation and Deep Water Horizon: How Contingent Oversight Theory Explains the Politics of Congressional Investigations

44 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2012 Last revised: 7 Aug 2012

See all articles by David Parker

David Parker

Montana State University

Marnee Rand

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Matthew M. Dull

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

We review the police patrol/fire alarm dichotomy of congressional oversight and find it wanting both theoretically and empirically. We develop a new theoretical account explaining the frequency and duration of committee investigations of alleged executive branch misdeeds. Using this new perspective, we explain the very different oversight experiences of two executive agencies over the past two decades: Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We demonstrate with contingent oversight theory that congressional investigations are driven not only by member opportunity costs but by broader contextual opportunity costs imposed by partisan, institutional, committee structures, and divided government. We argue that the police patrol/fire alarm model of oversight be dispensed with in favor of a more robust theory of investigations which better explains the varied attention of Congress’ watchful eye.

Keywords: oversight, MMS, IRS, contingent oversight theory, police patrol, fire alarms, investigations, Congress

Suggested Citation

Parker, David and Rand, Marnee and Dull, Matthew M., IRS Intimidation and Deep Water Horizon: How Contingent Oversight Theory Explains the Politics of Congressional Investigations (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2109032

David Parker (Contact Author)

Montana State University ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States
406-994-5163 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.montana.edu/wwwpo/Faculty/Parker.html

Marnee Rand

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Matthew M. Dull

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University ( email )

250 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
22
Abstract Views
235
PlumX Metrics