Paying to Play
The majority of House committee chairs contributed to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and Republican candidates during the 1994 election cycle, upped their overall contribution amounts in the 1996 cycle, and again in the 1998 cycle. The contribution patterns of Republican leaders and committee chairs following the 1994 elections suggest that most leaders and chairs abided by the party's fundraising expectations. The race for the chair of the Ways and Means Committee in 2000 demonstrates how institutional reform and the political environment shape the structure of opportunities in the House. The redistribution of campaign money played a role in a number of committee chair and leadership races in the 107th and 108th Congresses. During the 1990s, electoral strategies began to dominate legislative strategies as Democrats and Republicans fought for control of the House. Under the leadership of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, House Democrats began to coalesce around an electoral strategy that focused on fundraising.