The Influence of US Corporate Interlocks on the Pattern of Congressional Lobbying

Friday, July 18, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 413
Oral Presentation
Bruce CRONIN , University of Greenwich, London, United Kingdom
There is a long history of research into the relationship between US directorate interlocks and campaign contributions drawing PAC funding data, generally demonstrating the importance of such contributions to sectors reliant on government concessions in some form often associated with bipartisan hedging strategies, alongside some clusters of interlocks with deep-seated conservative funding patterns. But the extent to which contributions amount to policy advocacy are largely circumstantial and the notion of a close link has been hotly contested by protagonists.  

Since 1995, however, the lobbying of Congressional decision makers has been subject to extensive disclosure requirements, including  the formal registration of those engaged in lobbying activity and the publication of quarterly returns detailing clients and income from these, expenditure on lobbying,  targets of lobbying  and the issues of advocacy. This provides data on the actual domestic policy advocacy pursued by US corporates and thus a more rigorous basis for considering the relationship between directorate interlocks and corporate political activity than contribution data alone.

Building on earlier research on the central position of the large corporate director interlock structure in the pattern of lobbying of the UK government (Cronin 2012), this paper considers the position of the US interlocking director structure among the SP200 within the pattern of congressional lobbying in general. As in the UK, the US Corporate interlock structure proves to be remarkably central, albeit with strong House and issue delineations.