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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
July 2022
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Book description

Politicians and lobbyists have incentives to conceal any quid pro quo relationships between them, leaving scholars largely unable to link campaign money to legislative votes. Using behind-the-scenes information gained from novel data sources such as legislators' schedules, fundraising events, legislative amendments, and the campaign contributions of individual lobbyists and the political action committees these lobbyists control, Amy McKay instead investigates how lobbyists influence the content of congressional legislation. The data reveal hidden relationships between lobbyists' campaign assistance and legislators' action on behalf of those lobbyists. Relative to constituents and even average lobbyists, the lobbyists who provide campaign money to members of Congress are more likely to secure meetings with those members, to see their requests introduced as legislation, and to achieve a larger portion of their legislative goals adopted into law. These findings raise important normative concerns about the ability of some to use money to co-opt the democratic process.


‘Interest group influence is infamously hard to document and measure. In this book, McKay provides the best evidence we have ever had of the ‘smoking gun’ of that influence. Meticulously researched and engagingly written, this book is a must read for anyone who cares about lobbyists in the policymaking process.’

Beth Leech - Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University

‘For years, interest group scholars have routinely found inconsistent and contradictory evidence that money buys legislative favors. The problem is that the kinds of quid pro quo favors we fear most are nearly impossible to observe. Stealth Lobbying offers a welcome corrective to how scholars think about money and politics. Amy McKay relies on her own experience in Congress and keen social science mind to offer an ambitious theory and compelling evidence that leaves little room for skepticism that money indeed buys legislation.’

Tim M. LaPira - Professor of Political Science, James Madison University

‘Stealth lobbying carefully tackles the perhaps hardest question in interest group research – how to identify group influence - relying on novel methods and a unique mix of new data sources about the Affordable Care Act not analyzed systematically on such a large scale before. Its approach and findings will be a reference point for those exploring the often-quiet efforts of lobbyists to put their mark on legislation in and beyond the US context.’

Anne Rasmussen - Professor of Political Science, University of Copenhagen

‘… an important contribution to the literature on lobbying, and all scholars studying the phenomenon should read it. … Highly recommended.’

R. M. Alexander Source: Choice

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