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Title page for ETD etd-03302012-084834

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hudak, John Joseph
URN etd-03302012-084834
Title The Politics of Federal Grants: Presidential Influence over the Distribution of Federal Funds
Degree PhD
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David E. Lewis Committee Chair
Bruce I. Oppenheimer Committee Member
John G. Geer Committee Member
Joshua D. Clinton Committee Member
Kevin M. Stack Committee Member
  • Presidential Elections
  • Elections
  • Federal Grants
  • Bureaucracy
  • President
Date of Defense 2012-02-29
Availability unrestricted
This project advances the idea that the President of the United States is a primarily election driven actor who uses the power of his office to advance those interests. Like Members of Congress, presidents use their influence over the distribution of federal funds to target key constituencies—swing states—in and effort to win reelection and enhance the electoral strength of the party’s standard bearer. In so doing, this project demonstrates the profound scope of presidential spending power, even at the micro-level. Specifically, presidents influence the allocation of federal discretionary grants, using them as an extension of the campaign largesse. Through a complex network of administrative rules and procedures, a web of political appointees, and the ease of conveying White House preferences with regard to key constituencies, the executive branch of the American government efficiently and effectively aids the president in the electoral arena. By analyzing such behaviors at the aggregate-, agency-, and individual-levels, this project illustrates clearly not only the relationship between presidential preferences and porkbarrel politics, but also the precise processes and mechanisms presidents use to capitalize on such distributive benefits.
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