We propose a forensic approach to investigate the politico-economic forces that influence narrow vote outcomes in legislative assemblies. Applying nonparametric estimation techniques to a data set covering all roll call votes between 1990 and 2014, we can identify the existence of precise control over legislative vote outcomes in the U.S. House of Representatives. Several pieces of evidence indicate that this control seems to be, at least partly, driven by campaign finance donations. Moreover, control seems to be most prevalent in times of higher electoral competition, i.e. during election years. Our contribution sheds new light on the role of money in politics and, more generally, opens a novel perspective to empirical research on legislative voting.
forensic economics campaign finance special interest groups lobbying