First described by Burns in 1978, legislative leaders were one of the five types of transactional leaders documented. Legislative leaders will engage in bargaining, reciprocal exchanges, and political payoffs. These are the transactions of the legislative leader.
Although Burns paints a rather unflattering picture of the legislative branch of governments, the examples for his model are consistent with the realities of the system. Perhaps the best illustration of the transactional nature of legislative leaders would be their relationships with Political Action Committees (PAC).
PACs are an effective way for the employees of companies to raise money to support legislators their employers would like to hold office. These organizations are sometimes accused of supporting a political payoff mechanism. For example, in exchange for a PAC’s support, the legislator may take a stronger position on potential laws that will adversely affect the employee’s company.
In addition to legislative leaders, transactional leaders include group leaders, party leaders, executive leaders, and opinion leaders.