JOHN R. WRIGHT
Interest Groups, Congressional Reform, and Party Government in the United States
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:217-35

The generally accepted explanation for the congressional reforms of the 1970s is that Northern Democrats sought greater control over the legislative process in order to enact a liberal policy agenda. Party leaders, according to this explanation, then acted forcefully and cohesively to satisfy these ideological policy demands. I argue instead that congressional reforms were motivated by the need for House Democrats to raise money for reelection, and that the subsequent policies enacted by party leaders were designed to satisfy important interest group constituencies that supply campaign money. The former argument suggests that interest groups reconcile their policy demands to the ideological policy objectives of the party. My explanation suggests that political parties adjust their policy agendas to satisfy interest group constituencies.


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