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Cambridge University Press, Cosponsoring and Cashing in - US House Members' Support for Punitive Immigration Policy, 2021

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Business and Politics (2021), 1–18
doi:10.1017/bap.2021.6

CAMBRIDGE
UNIVERSITY PRESS

RESEARCH ARTICLE

Cosponsoring and Cashing In: US House Members’ Support
for Punitive Immigration Policy and Financial Payoffs from
the Private Prison Industry
Jason L. Morín1

, Rachel Torres2 and Loren Collingwood3

1

California State University, Northridge, 2James Madison University and 3University of New Mexico
Corresponding author: Jason Morin, Associate professor, California State University, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge,
CA 91330; Email: jason.morin@csun.edu

Abstract
The private prison industry is a multi-million-dollar industry that has increasingly profited from the detention
of undocumented immigrants. As a government contractor, therefore, the industry has a natural interest in government decision making, including legislation that can affect its expansion into immigrant detention. In this
article, we examine the relationship between campaign donations made on behalf of the private prison industry
and an untested form of position taking—bill cosponsorship—in the US House of Representatives. We hypothesize the private prison industry will reward House members for taking positions that benefit the industry.
We also hypothesize the private prison industry will also reward House members who incur greater political
risk by taking positions out of sync with the party. To test our hypotheses, we focus on punitive immigration
legislation that has the potential to increase the supply of immigrant detainees over the course of eight years.
We find support for our second hypothesis, that private prison companies are more likely to reward House
Democrats who cosponsor punitive immigration policies even after accounting for possible endogeneity. The
findings have important implications regarding the relationship between House members and private interests.
Keywords: position taking; private prisons; immigration policy; legislative politics

Introduction
The private prison industry is a multibillion dollar a year industry that includes a conglomerate of private
prison corporations, security firms, and construction companies that are in the business of incarcerating
citizens and detaining undocumented immigrants for profit. The two largest companies, CoreCivic and
The GEO Group, own and operate more than 200 facilities nationwide and have generated more than $4
billion in revenue in the last fiscal year combined. In more recent years, though, both companies have
increasingly profited from the detention of undocumented immigrants by securing lucrative government
contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In 2014, ICE-related contracts
accounted for the largest share of all federal contracts, surpassing the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and
the US Marshals Office (USMS), for the first time. Today, ICE accounts for 29 percent of CoreCivic’s
2019 annual revenue. The share of revenue is 12 percentage points higher than USMS and 24 percentage
points higher than BOP. As for GEO, the government agency accounted for 22 percent of its total revenue—11 percentage points higher than USMS and 10 percentage points higher than BOP.1,2
As a government contractor, the private prison industry has a natural interest in decision making at
various levels of the federal government, including federal legislation that can affect its expansion into
immigrant detention. In fact, both CCA and The GEO Group have admitted that government demand
for detention facilities could be adversely affected by immigration reform laws that reduce the number
of immigrant detainees.3 Although the private prison industry claims that it does not “lobby for or
1

See http://ir.corecivic.com/static-files/452022e9-1ced-4b2d-b4f3-3f7a254d9ebd
See http://www.snl.com/Interactive/newlookandfeel/4144107/2016-GEO-Annual-Report.pdf

2

© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of V.K. Aggarwal

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Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

against any policies or legislation that would determine the basis for an individuals’ incarceration or
detention,”4 more recent evidence indicates that private prison companies, by virtue of having prisons
within representative’s districts, can influence legislative outcomes5 as well as legislative behavior over
immigration policy more specifically.6 Yet it remains unknown if the private prison industry can influence legislative outcomes by employing other forms of political influence, such as contributing to representatives’ campaigns.
We examine the relationship between campaign donations made on behalf of the private prison industry and legislative behavior in the US House of Representatives. Following Mahyew’s (1974) reward argument, we hypothesize the private prison industry will reward House members for taking positions that
benefit the industry. However, we add to this discussion by also arguing that the reward amount depends
on the risk House members incur by taking a position on policy. Specifically, party members who take
positions out of sync with the party brand are likely to hold more value because they are politically
risky and consequently infrequent. We thus expect position taking to have a greater substantive effect
on campaign donations when party members defect from the party than those who do not.
To test our argument, we focus on bill cosponsorship of punitive immigration legislation in the US
House of Representatives and Political Action Committees (PACs) contributions from three major private prison corporations: CoreCivic, The GEO Group, and Management & Training Corporation (MTC).
We focus exclusively on bill cosponsorship compared to other forms of position taking, such as bill sponsorship, for two reasons. First, although bill cosponsorship is arguably a more difficult test of Mayhew’s
(1974) original argument, the effects of bill cosponsorship on campaign contributions are relatively
unknown. Second, sponsorship is a relatively limited occurrence in our data, yielding modeling unreliable. Yet bill cosponsorship is an important form of position taking since members of Congress (MCs)
can signal both direction and intensity of their policy preferences at a comparatively lower cost.7 We find
support for our second hypothesis. Private prison corporations are more likely to reward House
Democrats who cosponsor punitive immigration legislation. Moreover, further robustness checks investigating this relationship suggest that the causal arrow is most likely in the correctly predicted direction.
In all, these findings lend greater support for Mayhew’s (1974) contention that MCs are rewarded
for taking positions on policy. While these results fit with research on position taking and campaign
contributions,8 they are the first to demonstrate such a connection between immigration legislation
and the private prison industry. The findings have important implications regarding Congress’s role
in immigrant detention. So long as some House Democrats continue to attract donations from private
prison companies, some House Democrats will continue to support legislation that criminalizes
undocumented immigrants despite growing opposition within the party’s voting base, and indirectly
support the financial interests of the private prison industry.
In the pages that follow, we first review the relevant literature on private prisons and interest groups,
which highlights the endogenous relationship between campaign contributions and position-taking
activities in legislative bodies. Building on the work of Mayhew (1974), Rocca and Gordon (2010),
and others, we next present our theoretical framework regarding position taking and the effect of
bill cosponsorship on campaign donations. Third, we review our data and methods. Finally, we present
our results and discuss the implications of our research.

Background
There is much debate over the role of money in politics. Perhaps the most well-known perspective is
the interest group perspective, which posits that interest groups make political donations with the
expectation that MCs will advance their policy interest either through roll-call votes or some other
3

See http://ir.corecivic.com/static-files/01d82fd4-9aa6-41e5-b1ed-a5b76a3450ee
See http://ir.corecivic.com/corporate-governance/political-lobbying-activity
5
Walker et al., 2017.
6
Collingwood, Morín, and El-Khatib, 2018.
7
Schiller, 1995, 188.
8
Rocca and Gordon, 2010.
4

Business and Politics

3

legislative activity. Although MCs can potentially renege from such agreements because there is very
little—if anything—interests can do to compel MCs to follow through on an exchange of goods, interest groups can encourage cooperation by making long-term investments to encourage trust9 or by
making a down payment with a promise of an additional payment after.10
Research on interest groups and campaign donations, however, has produced mixed results when it
comes to voting (e.g., Wawro [2001]). Moreover, the exchange model has produced more questions
than answers. For example, Hall and Deardorff (2006) outline two key objections. First, among
those that find evidence of vote buying, the payoff amount is not commensurate with the policy benefits that interest groups potentially receive. In his study of farm subsidies, Stratmann (1992) finds that
farm groups donated less than $200 to legislators to encourage support for the 1985 omnibus and 1990
farm bills. Second, research suggests that interest groups are more likely to make campaign donations
to political allies in Congress. Yet it is unclear why PACs tend to give to political allies who need the
least amount of coaxing.11
Rather than envisioning money and legislative behavior as an exchange of goods, Hall and Wayman
(1990) contend that interest groups purchase access and time with their campaign donations to lobby
policy. Thus, money serves as a signal that permits legislators and staff to identify allied interest. For
example, in a field experiment, Kalla and Broockman (2016) find that congressional offices were
between three and four times more likely to make themselves available to interest groups after
being informed of their donation history. Although there is some debate over “who” is likely to be
lobbied, interest groups have a tendency to lobby ideological or partisan allies,12 those with influence
over policy making, such as incumbents,13 legislators belonging to policy-relevant committee assignments,14 and those with leadership positions and access to more resources.15 However, a key criticism
is that money as a signal to legislators may be watered down by other competing interests vying for
attention.16
The congressional perspective, by contrast, envisions campaign contributions as a reward for
legislative behavior.17 According to this view, MCs—who are primarily motivated by the goal of
reelection18—engage in a number of position taking activities to signal preferences on policy and
attract campaign donations—not from the general public but rather from more attentive groups,
such as interest groups and lobbyists. According to Mayhew (1974), position taking is defined as a legislator’s “public enunciation of a judgmental statement on anything likely to be of interest to political
actors” (16). Although MCs can take positions in various ways, more recent work places greater
emphasis on non-roll-call voting behavior, such as bill sponsorship. For example, Rocca and
Gordon (2010) examined the effect of bill sponsorship on contributions from the labor and gun lobbies in 103rd and 104th Congresses. Even after accounting for potential endogeneity between sponsorship and campaign contributions, the authors found a strong relationship between non-roll-call
behavior and contributions. Rocca and Gordon (2012) also find a significant relationship between congressional earmarks and PAC contributions from defense PACs in the 111th Congress. Interest groups
utilize financial contributions to encourage legislative earmarks, which furthers the group’s policy
goals. In turn, legislators utilize legislative earmarks to attract financial donors’ attention.

9

Snyder Jr., 1992, 18; but see McCarty and Rothenberg, 1996.
Stratmann, 1998, 88.
11
Bronars and Lott, 1997; Grier and Munger, 1986, 1991; Grenzke, 1989.
12
Hall and Deardorff, 2006; Mahoney and Baumgartner, 2008; Victor and Koger, 2016, but see Austen-Smith and Wright,
1994.
13
Fouirnaies and Hall, 2014.
14
Grimmer and Powell, 2013.
15
Powell, 2012.
16
Hall and Deardorff, 2006.
17
Mayhew, 1974, 51.
18
Although MCs possess other goals (e.g., making good public policy and attaining influence in Congress), none are as important as getting reelected. While MCs may wish to craft specific policies or obtain influence, they will never be able to do so if they
lose their bid for reelection. See Fenno, 1973; Mayhew, 1974.
10

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Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

These findings dramatically challenge our current understanding of PAC contributions within the
literature. As Rocca and Gordon (2010) suggest, the causal arrow may simply be in the wrong direction. While the previously referred to literature advances our understanding of position taking and its
influence on election outcomes, we contend there is still room for improvement. First, the extant
research has yet to fully examine “who” is doing the rewarding. Because the research is limited to
the defense, labor, and gun industries, it is unclear whether these findings hold for other industries
that are also heavily affected by government regulation or rely on winning government contracts as
the basis of their business model. Second, prior scholarship on position taking as a strategy to attract
campaign donations is limited to a single position-taking activity—bill sponsorship. However, this begs
the question of whether other position-taking activities, including those that are arguably less costly by
MCs, can influence campaign donations.

Cosponsorship as a tool to attract campaign donations
As noted, MCs can engage in various kinds of position-taking activities showing formal support for a
bill, such as speech making, bill sponsorship, writing a bill, and cosponsorship. There are two notable
features that make sponsorship and cosponsorship not only distinct from roll-call voting but also an
attractive tool for MCs to use. First, unlike roll-call voting, which relegates MCs to three options: yes,
no, and abstain, non-roll-call forms of position taking allows members “to take multidimensional positions on complicated issues.”19 Second, “it gives members of Congress greater discretion to take positions because there is no formal requirement to do so.”20 Thus, non-roll-call behavior is considered to
be more of a voluntary act in which MCs can pursue their goals.
Our research focuses on bill cosponsorship for several reasons. Most notably, it serves as a more
difficult test of Mayhew’s contention that MCs are rewarded for the positions they take on the Hill.
In comparison to bill sponsorship, cosponsorship arguably entails fewer political costs (opposition
from legislators, interest groups, and constituents), fewer opportunity costs (ignoring other issues
that may promote reelection), and fewer resource costs (e.g., time and energy that’s expended by
MCs and staff).21 Given these lower costs, MCs cosponsor hundreds of bills each legislative session.22
Still, cosponsorship is not a costless activity as some suggest.23 As with any legislative activity, it is certainly possible for MCs to devote some resources, such as time and energy, before making a decision
on whether to support a bill—especially if a bill is considered to be salient, is politically contentious, or
requires additional information or expertise. Moreover, the decision to cosponsor bills can often
depend on a host of other considerations, such as seniority, leadership positions, and other institutional factors that influence legislative activity.24
Despite having relatively lower costs than bill sponsorship, cosponsoring legislation is a valuable
position-taking activity. According to Koger (2003), MCs cosponsor bills to pursue a combination of policy and election-oriented goals. On the one hand, “co-sponsorship can send low-cost information about
the political benefits of a bill, as well as the time and leadership effort required to pass it.”25 For example,
Kessler and Krehbiel (1996) find that ideologically liberal and conservative MCs cosponsored legislation
earlier rather than later during the legislative process to signal positions to their House colleagues. Party
leaders can also rely on cosponsorship as a strategic tool to determine the likelihood of a bill’s success
based on the number of cosponsors, diversity of cosponsors (e.g., cosponsors with diverse positions on
policy issues), and quality of cosponsors (e.g., cosponsors with quality reputations, seniority).
On the other hand, MCs can also utilize cosponsorship as a position-taking tool to pursue the primary goal of reelection, which entails the generation of campaign contributions. Although there is little
19

Rocca and Gordon, 2010, 388.
Ibid.
21
Schiller, 1995.
22
Koger, 2003.
23
Rocca and Gordon, 2010, 290.
24
Koger, 2003; Rocca and Sanchez, 2008.
25
Koger, 2003, 227.
20

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5

evidence to support the claim that cosponsorship promotes electoral margins,26 there is good reason to
expect that cosponsorship promotes reelection by attracting campaign donations from attentive interests. Similar to bill sponsorship, MCs can cosponsor legislation to send signals to attentive publics by
showing their support for legislation, regardless of a bill’s outcome. As Koger (2003) observes,
“Cosponsorship is a chance to show that a member has taken action to support a bill. Even if a bill
doesn’t move, cosponsoring helps clarify your message. That way, people know where you stand,
pro or con” (232). This is a particularly important point because it highlights the personal and
voluntary nature of cosponsorship as a legislative activity.
In addition to signaling support for legislation, MCs can utilize cosponsorship to signal the intensity of their preferences to interest groups and lobbyists. As Koger (2003) notes, “Cosponsorship means
you recognized early on that the bill is good public policy and that it has merit and should be acted on.
If a member cosponsors, that implies he or she contributed to its success; the member’s cosponsorship
may have made the difference. If you just vote yes, you had no role in bringing the bill to the floor.
There’s more credit in cosponsoring a bill then voting for it” (231–32). In comparison to bill sponsorship, the overall level of intensity may not be as high as writing a bill given the political, opportunity,
and resource costs. However, as research demonstrates, the high resource cost associated with bill
sponsorship means that MCs have fewer opportunities to signal their preferences than if one were
to cosponsor a bill.
Overall, the extant literature suggests that MCs can utilize bill cosponsorship as a low-cost tool to
signal both direction and intensity of preferences to attentive interests. We, therefore, expect the private
prison industry to reward MCs for cosponsoring favorable legislation. Thus, we establish our baseline
hypothesis:
• H1: Prison Donation (Baseline) Hypothesis: Legislators who cosponsor punitive immigration
bills will receive larger prison PAC donations compared to legislators who do not cosponsor
punitive immigration bills.

Rewards, counterpositions, and communicating risk to attentive publics
The value of cosponsorship may also vary by who is taking the position. Here, our primary argument is
that MCs are more likely to benefit monetarily from position-taking activities when they adopt positions that are out of sync with their own party. For example, a Democrat might disproportionately benefit from the NRA (in terms of campaign contributions) for supporting pro-NRA legislation and a
Republican might disproportionately benefit from Labor for supporting prolabor legislation. Our
logic is based on a simple supply-and-demand principle, which suggests that the value of goods
increases when demand exceeds supply.27 Although MCs are more likely to take positions that follow
their ideological, partisan, or electoral preferences,28 such positions may be worth comparatively less to
interest groups because MCs can be “counted on” to support particular positions. By contrast,
out-of-sync positions occur with less frequency given the higher political and electoral costs of
doing business.29 As such, compensation for out-of-sync positions may be comparatively higher
than those that are not.
The key mechanism is the ability to signal a higher degree of risk to attentive publics. MCs can signal greater risk by taking counterpositions that potentially result in punishment from party leaders. A
key goal of party leaders is to maintain policy control and build majorities to pass legislation.30 To
achieve this end, party leaders can reward and punish rank-and-file members with several institutional,
policy, and financial sticks and carrots.31 For example, they can “offer favorable committee
26

Campbell, 1982; Kessler and Krehbiel, 1996; Wilson and Young, 1997.
Arrow, 1959.
28
Aldrich, 1995; Campbell, 1982; Cox and McCubbins, 2005; Miller and Stokes, 1963.
29
Bovitz and Carson, 2006; Carson et al., 2010.
30
Cox and McCubbins, 2007; Pearson, 2015.
31
Cox and McCubbins, 2005, 2007; Pearson, 2015.
27

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Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

assignments and leadership positions, donate campaign funds, and expedite favorable legislation.”32
Conversely, they can also strip its members of valuable positions, withdraw campaign funds, and prevent
sponsored legislation from getting on the agenda. Party leaders are also strategic when enforcing party
discipline. While at times they may permit some degree of latitude for defection, party leaders
are more likely to enforce discipline during procedural votes, when legislative outcomes are uncertain,
and—most relevant to our discussion here—when issues are salient and help define the party to voters.33
Growing evidence indicates that party leaders monitor multiple forms of position taking. Party
leaders, for instance, place a great deal of emphasis on roll-call voting because it is a necessary activity
to pass legislation.34 Consequently, defection from the party may constitute a much higher payoff given
the weight of activity. More recent evidence also indicates that party leaders monitor floor speeches.
For example, Pearson (2015) finds that party leaders, in exchange for floor speeches that promote
the party’s agenda, reward (or not) the rank and file with opportunities to amend legislation and
make resolutions. Thus, there is reason to believe that party leaders may also monitor other forms
of legislative activity, such as cosponsorship because it serves as an early sign of support for legislation.
In addition to party discipline, MCs can signal risk to attentive publics by taking counterpositions
that potentially result in punishment at the polls. Voters, who tend to rely on partisan cues to make
voting decisions, may be more likely to act retrospectively on a MC’s record. The media, interest
groups, and challengers can also expose incumbents for taking positions that are inconsistent with
the party label. For example, Bovitz and Carson (2006) and Carson et al. (2010), in their study of rollcall votes, find that incumbents can lose their electoral gains by taking counterpositions on issues that
have been controversial, salient, or a catalyst for intraparty disagreement. Although incumbents tend to
win reelection, the results nevertheless highlight an element of electoral risk.
Finally, the extant literature highlights potential party and electoral punishment when MCs take
positions counter to the party brand. Among the various policy issues that distinguish the two political
parties (e.g., economy and healthcare), immigration is perhaps one of the most salient. Over the years,
immigration policy has increasingly become an important wedge issue in US politics.35 Republican
MCs and their base have been in general agreement over the issue of immigration by showing support
for hardline immigration policies, such as enhancing border security and enforcement, detention, and
deportation. Democrats meanwhile have shifted left on the issue by supporting more inclusive policies,
such as comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and sanctuary cities.36 Given
the parties’ divergent stances on immigration policy, we can expect Democratic MCs who take counterpositions on punitive immigration policies in line with the private prison industry’s interests to
incur a potentially greater political or electoral cost. Thus, we hypothesize the following:
• H2a: Counterposition Hypothesis: Democrats who cosponsor punitive immigration bills will
receive higher payouts from private prison PACS than will Democrats who do not.
• H2b: Republicans who cosponsor punitive immigration bills will not receive higher payouts from
private prison PACS than will Republicans who do not.

Research design
To test our expectations, we constructed an original dataset to examine the relationship between House
representatives’ cosponsorship of punitive immigration policy and campaign donations from the private prison industry during the 111th–114th congressional years (or 2009–16). Following previous
research,37 the unit of analysis is the individual legislator per congressional year. Because individual
32

Ansolabehere, Snyder Jr., and Stewart III, 2001, 194.
Ansolabehere, Snyder Jr., and Stewart III, 2001.
34
Ibid.; Pearson, 2015; Snyder Jr. and Groseclose, 2000.
35
See https://news.gallup.com/poll/259103/new-high-say-immigration-important-problem.aspx
36
Collingwood and O’Brien, 2019; Hajnal and Rivera, 2014; Newman, Hartman, and Taber, 2012; Valentino, Brader, and
Jardina, 2013.
37
E.g., Rocca and Gordon, 2010, 2012.
33

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7

legislators appear multiple times in the dataset, we clustered standard errors around the individual legislator in our regression models. In all, the dataset includes a total of 1,745 observations after subsetting
out party leaders from the analyses.38 The period of inquiry is not only timely, but it is also preferable
because it provides an opportunity to examine the influence of legislative behavior on private prison
during a single presidential administration—the Obama administration. Consequently, we can control
for any potential effects that the executive branch may have on donation activity.

Dependent variable
Given our case selection, our primary dependent variable captures the sum of all PAC contributions
from three major private prison companies (CoreCivic, The GEO Group, and Management and
Training Corporation) during the 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 election cycles. All four election cycles
overlap with each of the four congresses that existed during these years. The three companies are representative of the private prison industry, as they accounted for nearly 90 percent of all private prison
contributions to House members during the period of inquiry—or $834,919 of $939,820 total contributions between 2010 and 2016. All private prison company contributions are available at
Opensecrets.org.39
Table 1 provides the dependent variable’s distribution. Eighty-five percent of the observations score
0, whereas 15 percent of legislators in our data receive payouts.40 The mean donation is $443, the
median is $0, and the max is $23,090 (a donation made to Rep. Henry Cuellar [D-TX]).41,42
Table 1. Dependent variable distribution—Prison PAC
$0

$0–1,000

$1,001–5,000

$5,000+

Percent

85%

7%

6%

2%

n

1,489

122

99

35

Independent and control variables
The main independent variable measures whether an individual legislator cosponsored punitive immigration legislation that has the potential to increase the supply of immigrant detainees. A coding of 1
indicates cosponsorship of at least one punitive immigration bill that has the potential to increase the
supply of immigrant detainees for the private prison industry and a coding of 0 indicates otherwise.
Alternatively, we also considered a count variable that captures variation among legislators who
cosponsor bills. However, we opted to use a dummy variable because very few Democrats cosponsored
more than one punitive immigration bill. The inclusion of a count variable, moreover, would make it
impossible to test our second hypothesis.43
We accessed all immigration related bills at the Congressional Bills Project.44 There are several punitive immigration bills that have the potential to increase the supply of immigrant detainees. They
include those that (1) enhance the power of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to
enforce immigration laws; (2) increase cooperation among local, state, and federal law enforcement
38

The decision to subset out leaders, however, does not change our core substantive or statistical findings.
See https://www.opensecrets.org/
40
Given the skewed distribution, we estimated our models by logging the dependent variable as well as coding the dependent
variable in terms of a contribution (1 = yes, 0 = no) in table C5 and table C6 in appendix C. The results remain statistically
unchanged.
41
Our core regression findings remain unchanged with or without Cuellar in the data. See table C1 in appendix C.
42
If we only consider representatives who receive contributions, the average donation is $3,024.68 after excluding party leaders.
CoreCivic, The GEO Group, and MTC donated an average of $2,836, $4,009, and $1,164, respectively.
43
Nevertheless, we included a count variable to test our baseline hypothesis and found no change in our results. See table C7 in
appendix C.
44
See http://congressionalbills.org/index.html
39

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Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

Table 2. Independent variable distribution—punitive immigration bill cosponsorship, by MC Party (Republican/Democrat)
Republican

Democrat

Pct. No Cosponsor

0.451

0.920

No Cosponsor (n)

407

775

Pct. Cosponsor

0.549

0.080

Cosponsor (n)

496

67

agencies to enforce immigration laws as well as impose penalties on sanctuary localities; (3) impose
penalties on undocumented immigrants and nonpermanent residents; and (4) create new procedures
to facilitate detainment and deportation of undocumented immigrants. In this case, HR-2848
“amend[s] the Immigration and Nationality Act to penalize aliens who overstay their visas, and for
other purposes,” and HR-1901 “amend[s] the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for extensions of detention of certain aliens ordered removed, and for other purposes”—fits into categories 3
and 4. Importantly, we exclude bills that are less likely to increase the supply of immigrant detainees,
such as “English Only” laws, bills that end birthright citizenship, and bills that restrict the number of
immigrants entering into the United States. Our data include n = 67 total bills that have at least one
cosponsor (we dropped bills that had 0 cosponsors). Although none of these bills made it out of committee due to a divided government, they nevertheless are important pieces of legislation because they
provide House members opportunities to take positions on a salient wedge issue that defined two
political parties during the period of inquiry. We provide a list of all punitive immigration bills in
appendix B.
Overall, 32 percent of our observations record a cosponsorship of a punitive immigration bill. But,
as table 2 indicates, Republican MCs are much more likely to cosponsor punitive immigration legislation, suggesting greater alignment with Republicans than Democrats. Fifty-five percent (n = 496)
of Republican party identifiers in our data cosponsor punitive immigration legislation, whereas just
8 percent (n = 67) of Democrats do. A closer inspection of DW-Nominate Dimension 1 scores,
which measure legislators’ ideology, also reveals that Democrats who cosponsor punitive immigration
bills tend to be more ideologically moderate (μ = -.201) compared to noncosponsors (μ = -.392, t
= -12.803, p < 0.001) and the Democratic Party’s highest-ranking member, Nancy Pelosi (–.4915).
Thus, Democratic members who cosponsor punitive legislation are not only out of sync with party’s
position on immigration but they also face a greater risk of party discipline.
We also include a dummy variable for Democrat (1 = yes, 0 = Republican) and interact the variable
with our primary independent variable to test our second hypothesis. In our data, 842 observations are
coded as Democrat, whereas 903 are coded as Republican. We exclude DW-Nominate scores—as a
measure of legislator ideology—from our models because our partisanship dummy variable and
DW-Nominate scores are highly correlated (0.95). Nevertheless, in table C2 in appendix C, we present
models switching party with DW- Nominate scores and find no substantive changes to our analysis.
Additionally, we control for a host of variables found to have a significant influence on campaign
donations. Descriptive statistics for all control variables are available in table A1 in appendix A. First,
we account for legislators’ committee assignments and leadership roles because committees and chairs
have greater control over the legislative agenda. It may be the case that legislators in policy-relevant
committees (i.e., committees that focus on immigration) and are high up on the committee ladder
have more opportunity to signal ideological preferences to interest groups. DHS/Judicial Committee
measures whether a legislator is a member of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or
Judiciary committees. This is a relevant measure because lots of bills relevant to ICE—the agency
charged with capturing and detaining undocumented immigrants—emerge here. Committee chair
measures whether a legislator is a subcommittee or full committee chair. Both variables mentioned
in the preceding text are dichotomous. A coding of 1 indicates committee membership in at least
one of the two committees and having a chair position in either a full or subcommittee during the

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9

period inquiry. A coding of 0 indicates otherwise.45 Third, we account for constituents’ preferences by
including several variables that measure legislators’ home state and district demographics. It may be
that private prison companies and their lobbyists may be more likely to contribute to legislators
who reside along the US-Mexico border and their own state representatives. Border State is a dichotomous variable where a coding of 1 indicates whether a legislator represents a district in a state that is
along the US-Mexico border. Home State is also a dichotomous measure, where a coding of 1 indicates
that a private prison company’s main headquarters is in a legislators’ home state. Following
Collingwood, Morín, and El-Khatib (2018), we also include a dummy variable for whether an
ICE-contracting private detention center is in a legislator’s district (1 = yes, 0 = no).46
In addition, we account for seniority, legislators who are electorally secure, and retirement status.
Research indicates seniority and electoral vulnerability to be positively associated with campaign donations. Meanwhile, we expect House members who announce their retirement to be less likely to receive
donations. To account for seniority status, we include a variable that measures House members’ nonfreshman status. A coding of 1 indicates nonfreshman and a coding of 0 indicates freshman. We also
control for representatives’ margin of victory, which is calculated as the difference in percentage vote
between the winner and second-place candidate. In the absence of a challenger, representatives were
coded as 1. Retiring is a dichotomous variable. Representatives who announced their retirement
were coded as 1 and 0 if otherwise.
Regarding district demographics, we control for the size of the unemployed population—measured
as the number of unemployed individuals within a district, presidential vote—measured as the percentage of the presidential vote for the Democratic candidate in the most recent election, and the percent of
Hispanic noncitizen population. Finally, we include several dummy variables that account for congressional years 112, 113, and 114 (with 111 held out as our comparison group).
Bill cosponsorship and campaign contribution sequence
Before we begin our analysis, we first examine the sequence of legislative activity and campaign contributions. If Mayhew’s (1974) argument is correct, then one would expect the private prison industry
to generally make campaign contributions after a legislator cosponsor’s a bill in line with the industry’s
interests. To determine the timing of the relationship, we identified only those punitive immigration
bills in which its cosponsor also received a donation from the private prison industry within the same
congressional year.47 According to table 3, 65 percent of campaign contributions occurred after a legislator cosponsored a punitive immigration bill, 13 percent occurred before and after, and 22 percent
occurred before. This pattern is also consistent among Democrats and Republicans.48
Table 3. Bill cosponsorship, campaign contribution sequence
$ After Cosponsor

$ Before/After Cosponsor

$ Before Cosponsor

Total

Dem

50% (13)

19% (5)

31% (8)

100% (26)

GOP

67% (113)

12% (20)

21% (36)

100% (169)

All

65% (126)

13% (25)

22% (44)

100% (195)

45

See https://history.house.gov/Congressional-Overview/Profiles/1st/
Table C3 in appendix C includes a detention facility dummy that captures whether a facility is in the district during the
session in full or in part (i.e., some facilities are constructed midway through the legislative session). Results do not change
substantively.
47
All donation dates are available at the Library of Congress and Federal Elections Commission websites. See https://www.congress.gov/. See also https://www.fec.gov.
48
The results exclude 14 bills (1 Democrat cosponsored bill and 13 Republican cosponsored bills) because we were unable to
identify some campaign contribution dates using the FEC website. However, we do not think the loss of this additional data
substantively affects the results given most campaign contributions occurred after a bill was cosponsored.
46

10

Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

At least for the private prison industry, the results are suggestive of a general pattern that is in line with
Mayhew’s (1974) argument. Although campaign contributions do not “always” follow bill cosponsorship,
the percentage of donations that occur after bill cosponsorship is relatively large. Still, we apply caution to
the interpretation of our initial results. Based on the sequence of events alone, we cannot say for sure that
campaign contributions are in fact rewards for specific legislative activities. In the next section, therefore,
we begin our analytical section by examining the relationship between the decision to cosponsor punitive
immigration bills and campaign contributions from the private prison industry.
Results
We begin the analysis with a presentation of simple difference of means tests. Our analysis broadly
finds (1) legislators who cosponsor punitive immigration legislation receive more donation money
than legislators who do not; (2) Republican legislators overall receive more money than do
Democratic MCs; and (3) however, only Democratic MCs are disproportionately financially rewarded
when they cosponsor punitive immigration legislation.
At a very basic level, not accounting for confounders, we expect a bivariate association between
punitive immigration bill cosponsorship and donations from the prison industry (H1). Table 4
shows general support for this baseline assumption ($569.22 to $383.96, t-stat = –1.92, p < 0.10).
Legislators who cosponsor punitive immigration legislation do, on average, record larger donations
from private prison PACS. Thus, with this test, we find initial support for hypothesis 1.
Table 4. T-tests between PAC amounts and punitive immigration bill cosponsorship

Prison Political Action Committee

No Cosponsor

Cosponsor

Abs_Diff

T_Stat

P_Value

$383.96

$569.22

185.26

−1.92

0.055

Next, given the GOP’s more traditional ally of prison privatization and hard line on immigration,
we might anticipate that on average prison PACs make larger donations to Republican MCs—
regardless of members’ propensity to cosponsor punitive immigration legislation. Table 5 provides
evidence that private prison companies are likely aligned with the Republican Party ($575.14 to
$302.81, t-stat = 3.14, p < 0.01).49
Table 5. T-tests between PAC amounts and legislator partisanship (Republican vs. Democrat)

Prison Political Action Committee

Republican

Democrat

Abs_Diff

T_Stat

P_Value

$575.14

$302.81

$272.33

3.14

0.002

Furthermore, the previously mentioned findings are not simply due to the notion that prison PACS
only give to GOP MCs. Indeed, prison PACs balance their giving to both party members (PACS often
give to members on both sides of the aisle but give less to their nonideologically preferred side
[Brunell, 2005]). Table 6 demonstrates this basic arrangement: of the 903 Republicans in our data,
144 (16.0%) received prison PAC contributions, whereas 112 of 842 (13.3%) Democrats did. These
party count distributions are not statistically different (χ 2 = 2.44, p = 0.12). Thus, despite giving to
both parties (in terms of count) somewhat equally, private prison companies disproportionately
give more money overall to Republicans than to Democrats.
49

If we only consider representatives who receive contributions, the average donation across groups is more sizeable. On average, cosponsors receive $3,111.36 and noncosponsors receive $2,966.32. Democrats receive $2,276.47 and Republicans receive
$3,606.63. In line with our main results, the difference in campaign donations between Democrats and Republicans is statistically
significant but not for cosponsors and noncosponsors.

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11

Table 6. Financial contributions from prison political action committees to legislators, by party. χ 2 = 2.435, p = 0.119
Republican

Democrat

Total

No Contribution

759

730

1,489

Contribution Received

144

112

256

Total

903

842

1,745

We next turn to the initial test of our second hypothesis. Because the political costs to Democratic
legislators for supporting punitive immigration legislation is likely higher than it is for Republican
legislators, should prison PACs wish to curry political favor in the form of punitive immigration
bill cosponsorship, then the contribution to Democratic MCs must be higher. In a very basic sense,
legislators are getting paid more for greater risk (H2a). However, because GOP MCs are broadly
aligned with the punitive immigration agenda, prison company PACs may strategize to give equally
to GOPers regardless of whether the MC ultimately cosponsors punitive legislation (H2b). Table 7,
row 1, provides broad support for H2a, whereas row 2 provides support for H2b (if anything, prison
companies give more to Republicans who do not cosponsor punitive immigration legislation but the
difference is not statistically significant). Compared to Democratic MCs who do not cosponsor
punitive immigration legislation, Democratic MCs who do receive more prison PAC money
($260.15 vs. $796.27, t = -2.14, p < .05). However, Republican MCs notch similar amounts of
money from the industry, regardless of whether they cosponsor punitive immigration legislation
($619.74 vs. $538.55, t = 0.60, p = 0.55). Overall, these findings support hypothesis 2.
Table 7. T-tests between PAC amounts and legislator partisanship × punitive immigration bill cosponsorship
No Cosponsor

Cosponsor

Abs_Diff

T_Stat

P_Value

Dem MC: PAC

$260.15

$796.27

$536.12

−2.14

0.03

GOP MC: PAC

$619.74

$538.55

$81.19

.60

0.55

Multivariate analysis
With our initial analysis, confirming hypotheses 1 and 2, we now turn to a more comprehensive
method to assess whether the relationship between bill cosponsorship, party, and financial contributions. We estimate our models with OLS regression.50 Our key independent variables are cosponsorship, Democrat (1 = yes, 0 = Republican), and their product. To support hypothesis 1, we must observe
a positive and statistically significant term on cosponsorship. To support hypothesis 2, we must
observe a statistically significant and positive product term.
We present both our base and product models, located in table 8. Model 1 (column 1) tests hypothesis 1—whether punitive immigration bill cosponsorship is associated with prison PAC financial contributions. Different from our bivariate analysis, we do not find support for H1. To test hypothesis 2,
we focus on our interaction term in model 2 (column 2). Our key independent variables are cosponsorship, Democrat (1 = yes, 0 = Republican), and their product. Here, we observe a positive and statistically significant coefficient of 622.990. This model provides clear support for H2.
To clarify the relationship, we simulate a Monte Carlo distribution of expected cash payouts
(expected values). To do this, postregression, we hold all covariates at their means and respectively
adjust our interaction terms from their minimum to maximum values (i.e., Republican (0) who
does not cosponsor (0) to Democrat (1) who does cosponsor (1)). The resulting simulated distribution
estimates expected values of cash payouts for varying combinations of our key independent variables.
50
As Rocca and Gordon (2012) notes, OLS regression is perhaps the most appropriate and most intuitive modeling technique
(248). Nevertheless, we also estimated our models using Tobit regression, which censors all zero values of the dependent variable.
The results remain statistically unchanged. See table C4 in appendix C.

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Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

Table 8. OLS Results. Punitive immigration bill cosponsorship and contributions from private prison political action
committees
Dependent variable
PAC $
(1)
Cosponsored Bill

−79.036
(146.500)

Democratic Representative

−138.239
(114.271)

DHS/Judicial Committee

(2)
−202.361

(3)
−409.069***

(168.485)

(154.151)

−280.531**

−288.181**

(127.277)

(122.244)

90.376

112.417

154.613

(167.266)

(168.423)

(157.407)

Committee Chair

186.667*

161.231*

204.545**

(99.204)

(97.923)

(95.626)

Border State

165.071

190.996

79.819

(139.938)

(138.804)

(97.218)

Home State

905.998***
(302.014)

Private Detention Facility in District

Nonfreshman

Margin of Victory

Retiring

Democratic Presidential Vote

Percent Hispanic

Unemployed Population

114th Congress

997.563**

916.326***
(301.477)
978.533**

598.685**
(244.074)
877.335

(484.596)

(481.298)

(537.628)

−76.540

−77.362

−22.433

(120.169)

(119.508)

(98.100)

181.164

220.534

245.460

(246.522)

(247.187)

(245.608)

−342.173***

−350.442***

−266.840**

(117.001)

(116.931)

(107.447)

1.940

0.423

0.493

(5.629)

(5.522)

(5.366)

613.547

534.907

400.670

(1,389.919)

(1,387.117)

(1,112.843)

−0.011

−0.011

−0.007

(0.008)

(0.008)

237.595**

280.394***

(0.007)
289.894***

(109.426)

(106.472)

(104.637)

113th Congress

−174.140**

−138.361*

−158.736**

(77.937)

(73.207)

(69.487)

112th Congress

−24.168

12.172

9.848

(103.290)

(102.355)

(94.748)

Democrat × Cosponsored Bill

Constant

Note: *p < 0.1; **p < 0.05; ***p < 0.01.

622.990***

457.428***

(233.997)

(156.746)

529.073

645.614*

519.371

(372.732)

(367.892)

(353.246)

Business and Politics

13

~
0
<(

a.

~

·c

~

w

0

1il

0

Dem No Dem Yes
Punitive Immigration Bill Cosponsorship

Figure 1. Expected values of PAC contributions to
legislators fitting different partisan and bill cosponsorship criteria.

Figure 1 presents results simulated from model 2 in table 8. Fitting with the earlier analysis,
Democratic MCs who cosponsor punitive immigration bills clearly receive higher campaign contributions than Democrats who do not cosponsor. Republicans, though, do not monetarily benefit from
cosponsoring punitive immigration bills because they incur less risk for supporting punitive immigration bills. In fact, Republicans who cosponsor legislation receive fewer dollar contributions than
Republicans who do not cosponsor—though the difference is smaller compared to Democrats.
Taken together, the findings mentioned in the following text provide a visual confirmation of both
H2a and H2b. Despite the smaller expected value of cash payouts to both Democrats and
Republicans, the reward amount may be commensurate with the relatively lower risk of bill cosponsorship as a position-taking activity. Still, it is worth noting that cash rewards have the potential to
increase over time as House members gain seniority and influential committee assignments in
Congress. The reasons behind this are twofold. First, seniority allows for the opportunity for
PACs to learn about House members and develop cooperation between them across time.51 Second,
“seniority is valued directly because of the norm of accession to leadership positions on committees
by longevity.”52 Thus, it is reasonable to suggest that even smaller contributions, including rewards
from the private prison industry, remain important to legislators.
The results in model 2, however, include all instances in which a legislator cosponsored a bill,
regardless of bill-contribution sequence. Therefore, it may be possible that the results may have
been biased to some degree by the inclusion of House members who (1) received contributions
after cosponsoring a bill and (2) received contributions before and after cosponsoring a bill. As a
robustness check, therefore, we examine whether the relationship continues to hold after excluding
the two groups of legislators in model 3 (column 3).53 The results remain unchanged with regards
to our main interaction term, though the substantive effects somewhat decrease.
Finally, the results demonstrate several important findings. Compared to the 111th Congress, House
members receive larger dollar contributions in the 114th Congress but not in the 113th Congress.
51

Kroszner and Stratmann, 2000.
Grier and Munger, 1993, 624.
53
The exclusion of the two groups of legislators removes 42 observations. Missing contribution dates further reduce the number of observations by another six observations for a total of 1,697 observations. This leaves four possible outcomes: a legislator
received a contribution after bill cosponsorship (55 observations), a legislator cosponsored a bill but did not receive any campaign contributions (460 observations), a legislator did not cosponsor a bill but received a contribution anyway (153 observations), or a legislator did not cosponsor a bill or receive any campaign contributions (1,029 observations).
52

14

Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

Taken together, the two findings indicate that House Representatives are more likely to receive PAC
contributions during general election cycles than in the congressional midterms. Additionally, committee chairs are more likely to receive PAC contributions, which is consistent with some literature
on PACS and campaign contributions (Grenzke, 1989). In the unrestricted model, legislators in leadership positions receive $161 more in campaign contributions than House back-benchers. Finally, and
most relevant to our study, Home State is positive and significant, indicating that private prison companies contribute $916 more to those who reside in the same state as the companies’ headquarters.
Likewise, legislators with private detention facilities in their district attract more prison PAC donations
($978). Finally, outgoing House members are statistically less likely to receive PAC money, which
makes sense because these members cannot do anything for PACs in the next Congress. Overall,
the findings add an additional layer to our understanding of private prisons and their political influence in campaigns and elections. While legislators are signaling to private prisons for money, private
prison companies are also heavily contributing to House members in their own state. All other control
variables fail to achieve statistical significance in the models.

Matching analysis
So far, the analysis demonstrates that cosponsorship influences interest group behavior in the form of
PAC donations. However, it is also possible that money influences the decision to cosponsor legislation.
To address possible endogeneity, we estimate a full match. The procedure has two general steps. The first
step aims to equate or balance the distribution of covariates in the treated and control groups such that
the treatment is independent of the covariates. The second step involves outcome analysis.54 The
method is particularly advantageous in its ability to reduce model dependency and improve the validity
of causal inference in observational studies.55 We adopt this approach from Nyhan et al. (2012), who
utilized matching to isolate the effect of roll call votes on support for Democratic incumbents. This
strategy, moreover, is in line with scholarship examining the extent to which voters electorally reward
representatives for taking positions and passing policy56 as well as research that investigates corporate
spending and firm performance more generally.57 In this setup, legislators who cosponsor punitive
immigration legislation become our “treatment group” whereas those who do not become the “control
group.” The match generates a dataset of comparable legislators in both treatment groups where the
primary difference is legislators in the treatment have cosponsored punitive immigration legislation.
We can then compare prison PAC donations across the two comparable groups. To achieve this end,
we matched our treatment and control groups on key political, electoral, and demographic variables
to isolate our treatment effect. These variables include ideology, committee status, leadership status,
state characteristics, nonfreshman status, congressional year, margin of victory, retiring, district presidential vote, district percent Hispanic noncitizen, and presence/absence of a private detention facility
in the district. Finally, we subset the data to Democrats and Republicans, respectively, to test for differences in financial prison PAC payouts between cosponsors and noncosponsors among partisans.58
Table D1 and D2 in appendix D show covariate balance tables pre-/postmatch for Democratic MCs.
The mean covariate distance prematch is 0.40, postmatch this number reduces to 0.01. Tables D3
and D4 show covariate balances pre-/postmatch for Republican MCs. A similar pattern emerges as
with the Democratic dataset: prematch distance = 0.18, whereas postmatch distance = 0.
Postmatch, among Democrats, the results once again show support for Mayhew’s argument—MC
are rewarded for the positions they take. Specifically, the findings indicate that Democrats who cosponsor punitive immigration legislation are more likely to receive prison PAC campaign contributions
than Democrats who do not ($796 vs. $310, p < 0.06). Cosponsoring Republicans, however, are not
54

Stuart, 2010.
Ho et al., 2011, 2007.
56
Sulkin, Testa, and Usry, 2015; Zucco Jr., 2013.
57
Aggarwal, Meschke, and Wang, 2012; Muntean, 2011; Prabhat and Primo, 2019.
58
As one additional test of endogeneity, we considered whether contributions during the 2008 election cycle influenced bill
cosponsorship in later congressional years (see table E1 in appendix E). We find no statistical relationship.
55

Business and Politics

15

statistically more or less likely to receive cash payouts compared to Republicans who do not cosponsor
($539 vs. $725, p = 0.16).
Discussion and conclusion
This article set out to investigate how legislators rely on a particular brand of position taking—
cosponsorship—to reap rewards from attentive publics. While previous research has often conceptualized money in politics as an independent variable, we argued that MCs take positions to attract
campaign contributions from attentive interests.59 We also argued that MCs who take counter positions from their own party will likely benefit from taking positions that benefit interest groups. Our
results demonstrate that private prison companies tend to make political donations after House members cosponsor punitive immigration legislation. Private prison companies also disproportionately
donate to House Democrats when they support punitive immigration legislation. Importantly, if
these bills are enacted, immigrant detainee supply/demand for greater immigrant detention is expected
to rise.
In all, the findings add to existing literature in at least three key ways. First, this article lends further
support to Mayhew’s (1974) argument that interest groups reward MCs for taking positions on relevant policies. This is especially important given that prior scholarship is relatively limited to a handful
of industries, such as the gun and labor industries. Second, the relationship between position taking
and financial payoff depends on “who” is taking the position, as MCs receive payoffs that are seemingly
commensurate with the political risks they incur. Finally, we also demonstrate that MCs can rely on
other forms of position-taking activities to attract campaign donations from interest groups. While
prior scholarship has exclusively focused on bill sponsorship, cosponsorship can also be an effective
signaling tool. Moreover, MCs may prefer bill cosponsorship to sponsorship because it poses arguably
lower political, opportunity, and resource costs.
The findings also have important implications regarding Congress’s role in immigrant detention. So
long as MCs continue to attract donations from private interests, they will continue to support legislation that criminalizes undocumented immigrants. It has been well-documented, for example, that
efforts to criminalize undocumented immigrants has led to increased instances of hate crimes and
most recently family separation.60 And among those held in captivity, many have suffered from
abuse, neglect, and even death.61 Meanwhile, MCs will continue to indirectly support the financial
interests of the private prison industry. Punitive immigration policies that increase the supply of
immigrant detainees will likely cause federal government to further its interests in the private prison
industry by granting more contracts to add bed space to existing detention facilities as well as construct
new immigrant detention centers. We think this a likely scenario especially given Donald Trump’s
conservative and hardline stance on immigration policy.
However, our work isn’t without its limitations. As discussed at the beginning of this article, there
has been much debate over the direction of the causal arrow. At least within congressional years, our
preliminary analysis finds that campaign contributions tend to follow bill cosponsorship. We also find
additional support for our main hypothesis in our robustness checks. Still, we cannot fully rule out the
potentially endogenous relationship between PAC donation and bill cosponsorship. This is because our
data precludes a time 1 (cosponsor), time 2 (payout) analysis. However, we take solace that previous
work found no relationship between prison industry donations made before the beginning of a
congressional session and punitive immigration bill cosponsorship.62
Future research should continue to investigate the relationship between position-taking and campaign donations. We hope researchers will replicate our analysis by focusing on other industries as
well as other actors related to the private prison industry, such as construction and security firms.
Additionally, we hope that future research analyses will test the extent to which private prison
59

Mayhew, 1974.
See https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/13/18091646/fbi-hate-crimes-2017
61
See https://www.texastribune.org/2014/06/10/shocking-abuse-immigrants-profit-prisons/
62
I.e., Collingwood, Morín, and El-Khatib, 2018.
60

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Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

companies reward MCs for taking positions on other policies salient to the private prison industry,
such as crime and appropriations legislation. Finally, future research should investigate whether private
prison companies reward state legislators. Given the recently documented role of groups like ALEC in
state immigration policy diffusion and Stand Your Ground legislation,63 there is strong reason to suspect that private prison companies have expanded their reach into state immigration policy making
and criminal justice more broadly. While the data-collection process might be extensive, the wider variance of state policy making might perhaps provide greater insights into the role of position taking and
money related to immigration-related legislation.
Supplementary material. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit https://doi.org/10.1017/bap.2021.6
Acknowledgments. We thank the reviewers for their helpful feedback. We also thank Matthew Gunning for providing comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript at the 2019 Western Political Science Association meeting.

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18

Jason L. Morín, Rachel Torres and Loren Collingwood

Appendix A: Summary Statistics

Table A1. Summary statistics
Mean
Private Prison Donations
Cosponsored Bill

sd

median

min

max

se

443.03

1824.31

0.00

0.00

23090.00

43.56

0.32

0.47

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

Democratic Representative

0.48

0.50

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

DHS/Judicial Committee

0.15

0.35

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

Committee Chair

0.26

0.44

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

Border State

0.22

0.42

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

Home State

0.09

0.29

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

Private Detention Facility in District

0.08

0.35

0.00

0.00

4.00

0.01

Nonfreshman

0.84

0.37

1.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

Margin of Victory

0.34

0.24

0.29

0.00

1.00

0.01

Retiring

0.05

0.22

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

45.98

15.20

48.00

3.00

80.20

0.36

Democratic Presidential Vote
Percent Hispanic Noncitizen

0.05

0.06

0.03

0.00

0.38

0.00

34076.76

8837.70

32736.00

12213.00

70876.00

211.02

114th Congress

0.25

0.43

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

113th Congress

0.25

0.43

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

112th Congress

0.25

0.43

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.01

Unemployed Population

Cite this article: Morín JL, Torres R, Collingwood L (2021). Cosponsoring and Cashing In: US House Members’ Support for
Punitive Immigration Policy and Financial Payoffs from the Private Prison Industry. Business and Politics 1–18. https://
doi.org/10.1017/bap.2021.6

 

 

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