Dear Congress Member: Letters to Congress and the Shaping of (Financial) Legislation
52 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2023
Date Written: March 21, 2023
Does petitioning Congress work? We find that positions advanced in both consumer group and trade association letters predict the voting behavior of legislators. We examine whether congressmembers appear responsive to letters by consumer groups and finance trade associations concerning 821 bills over the period 1999 to 2018. However, campaign contributions, membership of the Financial Services Committee and career concerns amplify the responsiveness of legislators to positions by resource-rich trade associations, especially during early stages of the legislative process. Our results suggest that the right to petition works, but legislators' incentives moderate its ability to provide equal access to competing interests.
Keywords: petition; consumer group; trade association; legislation; congress; committee; Financial Services Committee; revolving doors; campaign contributions; voting; lobbying; access
JEL Classification: D72, G21, G28, D18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation