Effects and Methods of Municipal Campaign Financing, 2004
Mayor Bronconnier (Calgary) and Alderman Hawkesworth (Ward 4)
Through donations from individuals, corporations, and institutions, politicians fund their campaigns. Generally, the larger amount of money a candidate has to spend on his or her campaign, the better the chance that the candidate will end up elected in municipal office. regime theory states that there is co-operation between different institutions that affects decisions and results. Politicians receiving donations from corporations and individuals often return the favor to their beneficiaries through municipal funding, contract preference, and policy changes.
Corporations help shape the policy of our elected politicians, referring to both Appendix A and B, one can clearly see that the construction and real-estate industries, along with related companies is a strong force, providing much of a candidates funding. If elected individuals did not in turn provide benefits to their campaign benefactors, either on purpose or through their personal campaign platform, they would likely not receive as much money from corporations in their next political venture, and thus increase their chances of loss against competing individuals. This creates a sort of ‘vicious-circle’ where politicians rely on donations to help secure votes, an the private sector companies rely on politicians for advantages in the business world.
In politics it would be novel to have a gracious rival. Modern political campaigners might take a lesson in graciousness and kindness from the great British statesman, Edward Campbell . Once when Campbell was opposing Thackereay for a seat in Parliament, the two contenders, in course of their campaigning, met and engaged in friendly conversation. On taking leave of his rival Thackereay remarked, ' ...
As previously noted, Construction companies are a major influence in the campaign funding of both Mayor Bronconnier, and Alderman Hawkesworth. Mr. Bronconnier received approximately eighty thousand dollars alone from several companies working in the construction industry. Mr. Hawkesworth received a much smaller amount, three thousand, three hundred dollars in total, but in terms of percentage of total contributions, both men were at approximately the same level. These contributions may be intended to sway the opinion of the politicians in question towards allowing more construction projects, opening more zones for development, and in general, creating a more favorable arena for the companies to profit in.
The largest amount both candidates received from industry-specific sources would be from the land development companies, primarily real estate related. Mr. Bronconnier received over one hundred thousand dollars from real estate companies, counting only the donations over one thousand dollars. Alderman Hawkesworth received three thousand four hundred dollars. This time, the percentage of developer donations to Mr. Bronconnier greatly exceeded that of Mr. Hawkesworth. Just like with the construction companies, it is unlikely these donations were given on the basis of the candidates stance on healthcare, police, etc, but rather on their stances on real estate development that most likely benefit the companies in question.
Regime theory states that donations from private sector companies to the campaigns of politicians can create mutual benefit. Companies are seen as variables in the outcome of municipal policy, perhaps the greater amount a lobby donates, the larger rewards it reaps. This creates a common benefit, politicians are re-elected into office due to the large amount of campaign funding, and companies prosper due to the politician’s decisions, thus being able to contribute even more the next time an election comes around. Liberal based regime theory argues that the spirit of recuperative cooperation as noted above. Through that theory, it is believed that when a corporation donates to a candidate, the candidate, if elected, will aid the corporation. It is very much a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” type of unspoken contract. According to the theory, when both parties expect the other regime to cooperate, the chance of this happening increases. Though not as obvious and not as organized, one can liken the current culture of corporate kickbacks to the ‘bosses’ and ‘machines’ as seen in the early days of American industrialization and urbanization. ‘Bosses’ organized voters, called ‘machines’ to control local governments (Bryce, pg 213 CR).
The construction sector is among the oldest global economic sector and construction multinational companies (MNCs) from developed countries form a sophisticated and well developed presence in many countries. The MNC’s especially develop quality infrastructural facilities in developing countries such as Nigeria. Nigeria’s construction industry is supposed to be of tremendous significance especially ...
These days, we have politicians organizing voters with money from the private sector (bosses) and once elected, dispense patronage.
Calgary fits quite well as an ‘instrumental regime’, where donations are made in trust that the government will help benefit the construction and real estate industries (not limited to).
In the eyes of the average citizen, with the information publicly available, there seems to be an informal contract of sorts between politicians and the corporations that fund their campaigns. This relationship allows companies to more easily access municipal resources, and can also help shape the policies, and platforms of elected officials, and in turn, the local government as a whole.