Prior research linking public-private contracts with political donations has not examined the dynamics of exchange. Evaluating data from Wisconsin, I test for a temporal association between the awarding of publicprivate construction contracts and political donations by construction firm owners and executives. My findings indicate that donation activity peaks near the months when contracts are approved; that contract-related donation premiums are comparable in magnitude to election cycle premiums; and that political giving varies across three separate procurement processes. I deduce that patterns of political giving reflect strategic expenditures during the negotiation phase of the public-private procurement process. These findings have implications for campaign finance reform and privatization policy.
Democracy, Shared Prosperity, and the Common Good
In the Public Interest is a comprehensive research and policy center on privatization and responsible contracting.