Sharing the Wealth

Member Contributions and the Exchange Theory of Party Influence in the U.S. House of Representatives

By Damon M. Cann

Subjects: Congressional Studies, Political Parties, Electoral Politics
Paperback : 9780791474945, 136 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791474938, 136 pages, July 2008

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
1. Introduction
2. Candidates as Contributors?
3. The Exchange Theory of Party Influence
4. Leadership Investment in Legislative Loyalty in the U. S. House
5. Member Contributions and the Politics of House Committee Chair Selection
6. Member Contributions and Control of the House Appropriations Committee
7. Member Contributions and the Politics of Party Leadership Selection
8. Conclusion

Documents the ever-larger sums donated by incumbent members of Congress to their parties and other candidates, and discusses the consequences.


Winner of the 2009 Richard F. Fenno Jr. Prize of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association

While students of American politics are accustomed to thinking of members of Congress as recipients of campaign contributions, Sharing the Wealth shows that incumbents are increasingly active as contributors to their parties and other political candidates. As this provocative study shows, member contributions have grown exponentially in recent years to finance the fierce biannual battle for majority control of Congress. Utilizing both quantitative methods and case studies, Damon M. Cann examines arrangements designed to advance ambitions of individuals while ultimately strengthening parties, and also explores several important consequences of this growing phenomenon. More than a campaign finance study, Sharing the Wealth offers a comprehensive examination of member-to-member and member-to-party contributions, and makes the connection between member contributions and the growing strength of political parties in Congress.

Damon M. Cann is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia.


"A well-conceptualized, tightly argued, and short book, Sharing the Wealth is certainly worth one's attention. " — Congress & the Presidency

"This is a very important piece of research. Member-to-member campaign contributions are an increasingly important part of the electoral landscape, but we know relatively little about how they work. The theory is well thought out and the author's treatment of the statistics is excellent. " — Kristin Kanthak, University of Pittsburgh