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MapLight, the Political Money Tracker, Launches Politicash 2012 App for the Presidential Election

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Our friends at Maplight have a really great app for tracking the money flowing in this year’s election campaigns.

Maplight

MapLight, the Political Money Tracker, Launches Politicash 2012 App for the Presidential Election

Free Mobile App Gives Users Immediate Access to Who’s Funding Presidential Candidate and Affiliated Super PAC Campaigns

Sept. 25, 2012–MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics, announces the launch of its new mobile app, Politicash 2012. The app, freely available for iOS and Android, tracks money flowing into the presidential race, making it easier than ever to know exactly who’s funding the candidates, including the shadowy money going into the campaigns of their affiliated super PACs. An auto-tweet feature alerts candidates that users are keeping tabs on their fundraising. Politicash 2012 is updated regularly with the most recent data from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

“With millions of dollars flowing into the presidential race, Politicash 2012 makes it easier than ever to track the biggest donors and hold our candidates accountable, all from the palm of your hand,” said Daniel G. Newman, MapLight’s co-founder and president.

The app’s features include:

  • Head to head comparison of total contributions to Obama and Romney, including a fundraising breakdown by super PAC versus campaign committee
  • Graphs tracking money raised and spent by each candidate over time
  • The top 5 contributors overall
  • Biggest contributors of the latest week of available records from the FEC
  • A “Shake” feature, showing a random sample of company, individual, and PAC contributors to each candidate

Download Politicash 2012 today for iOS and Android.

Politicash 2012 launches in partnership with the Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Global Exchange, the Participatory Politics Foundation, Public Campaign, Rock the Vote, and Rootstrikers.

Maplight: Contribution Profile of Members of the Deficit ‘Super Committee – updated

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Our friends at MapLight have conducted an analysis of campaign contributions to the 12 members of Congress appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The members of the so-called “Super Committee” are Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), and Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.)

Maplight

Top 10 Industry Contributors to Super Committee Members (PACs and Employees)

Industry Total
Lawyers/Law Firms $31,848,570
Securities & Investment $11,612,206
Health Professionals $9,655,188
Democratic/Liberal $9,647,264
Real Estate $8,993,150
Education $8,594,210
Misc. Business $7,916,271
Business Services $6,659,449
Women’s Issues $6,396,728
Insurance $6,043,095

Top 10 Organization Contributors (PACs and Employees) to Super Committee Members
NOTE: The Club for Growth’s and EMILY’s List’s totals also include contributions from their members.

Organization Total
Club for Growth* $1,009,884
Microsoft $822,350
University of California $652,935
Goldman Sachs $605,684
EMILY’s List* $594,883
Citigroup $584,831
JPMorgan Chase $533,128
UBS $451,280
Akin Gump $435,254
Morgan Stanley $393,779

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from Jan. 1, 2001 – Jun. 30, 2011 to the 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Campaign contributions and industry classifications established by the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org).

* Campaign contributions listed for the Club for Growth and EMILY’s List include contributions from the organization’s PAC, its employees and members.

  • To download a spreadsheet featuring an analysis of contributions from the top industries contributing to Super Committee members (that generated the tables below) click here.
  • To download a spreadsheet featuring an analysis of contributions from the top PACs contributing to Super Committee members (not including employee contributions) click here.

MapLight: Contribution Profile of Members of the Deficit “Super Committee”

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Our friends at MapLight have quantified the campaign contributions to the Congressional super committee members by industry.

MapLight

The members of the so-called “Super Committee” are Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), and Jim Clyburn(D-S.C.).

  • To download a spreadsheet featuring an analysis of contributions from PACs to Super Committee members (not including employee contributions) click here.

Top 10 Industry Contributors to Super Committee Members

Industry Totals
Lawyers/Law Firms $31,529,149
Securities & Investment $11,221,416
Democratic/Liberal $9,647,264
Health Professionals $9,321,588
Real Estate $8,793,350
Education $8,568,460
Misc. Business $7,902,021
Business Services $6,563,524
Women’s Issues $6,396,728
Insurance $5,693,595

Top 10 Organization Contributors (PACs and Employees) to Super Committee Members

Organizations Totals
Club for Growth $990,066
Microsoft Corp. $810,100
University of California $629,495
Goldman Sachs $592,684
EMILY’s List $586,835
Citigroup Inc. $561,081
JPMorgan Chase & Co. $494,316
Bank of America $349,566
Skadden, Arps, et al. $347,356
General Electric $340,935

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from Jan. 1, 2001 – Dec. 31, 2010 to the 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Campaign contributions and industry classifications established by the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org).

New York Times: Democrats, Seduced by Secret Dollars

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

The Democrats are embracing the siren call of undisclosed campaign spending.

New York Times

Last year several pro-Republican advocacy groups degraded the Congressional elections by spending at least $138 million in secret donations on advertisements. The public did not know which lobbying interests gave money, or how much, or what they would demand in return. But the donations became a significant factor in the Republican gains in the House and the Senate.

Now several prominent Democrats are abandoning the high ground and have decided to raise millions of their own secret dollars. They have promised they will again try to pass a law preventing this secrecy if they win. (They were stymied in an earlier attempt by a Republican Senate filibuster.) Whatever they gain in money, they stand to lose far more by giving up principles that President Obama and party leaders once claimed to cherish.

Bill Burton, who until February was Mr. Obama’s deputy press secretary, said last week that he would help lead a group called Priorities USA, which will raise unlimited money from undisclosed sources to aid in the president’s re-election campaign. The initial money will come from the Service Employees International Union and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer, but more will inevitably begin to flow in from other unions and wealthy Democrats.

Mr. Obama has long claimed to champion transparency and denounced the secret-money sluice operated by Republicans last year as a “threat to democracy.” As he said in October, “The American people deserve to know who’s trying to sway their elections, and you can’t stand by and let the special interests drown out the voices of the American people.” Last year, speaking for the administration, Mr. Burton called for a “bright light” to shine on the shadowy groups.

The White House says the president has not changed his view, but somehow he no longer seems to recognize Mr. Burton as the man who was recently a close aide. “We don’t control outside groups,” said Jay Carney, Mr. Obama’s press secretary. “These are not people working for the administration.”

Mr. Burton now says he does not like the campaign finance rules, which the Supreme Court helped create, but is unwilling to cede the advantage to the Republicans. “The laws we have are not the ones we wish we had,” he said. “But if you want to change the direction of the car, you have to have your hands on the steering wheel.”

It is true that a group founded by the Republican strategist Karl Rove has said it would raise $120 million for 2012, and another set up by the Koch brothers, conservative activists and industrialists, will raise at least $88 million. But Mr. Obama managed to raise the staggering sum of $750 million in 2008. And though he abandoned the public finance system to do it — possibly damaging it permanently — he at least disclosed all of his donors.

If the president stood up and publicly told Mr. Burton to end his effort, that would probably be the end of it. But he has not done so. The White House is clearly worried it will have trouble collecting big checks from Wall Street and other business interests for the re-election campaign, and has decided the political end justifies the unsavory means. At the very least, he and other Democratic leaders could demand that the Priorities group raise its money through an affiliate, Priorities USA Action, which can collect unlimited funds but must disclose its donors.

A political system built on secret, laundered money will inevitably lead toward an increased culture of influence and corruption. Democrats would attract more support as a principled party that refused to follow the Republicans down that dark alley.

Daily Fundraising requirements for Congress

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Courtesy of Maplight, here are the actual average amounts of money that a legislator has to raise in order to win a seat in Congress.

MapLight

PRICE OF ADMISSION FOR HOUSE AND SENATE SEAT

HOUSE

• Election Cycle Average: $1,472,146

• Annual Average: $736,073

• Daily Average: $2,016 (2 years)

HOUSE MEMBERS HAVE TO RAISE $2K EVERY DAY FOR 2 YEARS TO WIN A HOUSE SEAT

SENATE

• Election Cycle Average: $7,297,936

• Annual Average: $1,216,323

• Daily Average: $3,332 (6 years)

SENATE MEMBERS HAVE TO RAISE $3.3K FOR 6  YEARS TO WIN A SENATE SEAT

Maplight: Regardless of Party, Big Fundraisers are Big Winners in Senate Races

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Our friends at Maplight put the numbers out on the Senate races.

Maplight

Of the 35 Senate candidates who won election on Tuesday, 29 of them out-raised their opponents, some by wide margins (two races, Alaska and Washington have not been decided). For comparison, in what was widely considered a big victory, Republicans won 23 out of the 35 races. As successful as the G.O.P. was, well-funded candidates as a group beat them by 6 seats.

The Narrowest Victories

Of the five closest races with a declared outcome*, the winner held a financial advantage in all but one of them. In Colorado, Democrat Michael Bennett ( $11,463,411), who barely squeaked out a victory raised three times more than his Republican opponent, Ken Buck ($3,827,432). Republican Mark Kirk ($12,759,089) won President Obama’s former Senate seat in Illinois by a narrow margin with the help of $4.4 million more than his opponent, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias ($8,404,220). The result in Pennsylvania was similar, where Republican Pat Toomey ($14,832,115) won a close contest over Democrat Joseph Sestak ($9,271,042), spending $5.5 million dollars more than him in the process.