Dark Pools of Money In Politics

I’m interested in applying data journalism to research campaign contributions. Here are some curations pertaining to money in politics – included are videos, readings, and tools to explore campaign finance contributions.

Start, by geting a quick intro to campaign finance via wikipedia here.

Then learn about the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Wrap up by learning about independent expenditure-only committees (i.e. Super Pacs) here,  here, here , & here.

Now that you know the basics of campaign finance watch the following videos:

Bill Moyers – Interviews Two Journalists on Dark Money in Politics

Laurence Lessig @ Ted – We The People & Republic Must Reclaim

To learn more about Citizen United read & watch the following:

A Summary of Citizens United vs FEC

The Supreme Court’s Docket -i.e. all files relating to the case

Video: Citizen United Decision & Future Campaign Finance Laws – Political scholars examined the consequences of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision on recent elections. They also responded to questions from the audience.

So how are journalists & watchdogs tracking campaign finance? 

Let’s start with this video from the Sunlight Foundation about the role of using technology to track contributions.

Investigative Pieces Exploring Political Contributions:

First start with the Federal Election Commission Campaign Disclosure Portal.

Next, here are some awesome investigative pieces by ProPublica on political contributions:

1. Buying Your Vote – Dark Money & Big Data

2. How Dark Money Flows Through Koch Brothers Network

3. Who’s Making Money From All This Campaign Spending

Also, read the following reports from the Campaign Finance Institute

Finally, here is a list of all the NYT’s coverage of campaign finance

Tools Used To Track Political Contributions & Campaign Finances:

Influence Explorer – By Sunlight Foundation – “Connects the dots of political contributions on the federal and state level allowing you to track influence by lawmaker, company or prominent individual”

Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker – By Sunlight Foundation & Propubica – “digitizes information that representatives of foreign governments, political parties and government-controlled entities must disclose to the U.S. Justice Department when they seek to influence U.S. policy.”

Follow The Money – “The National Institute on Money in State Politics is the only nonpartisan, nonprofit organization revealing the influence of campaign money on state-level elections and public policy in all 50 states. Our comprehensive and verifiable campaign-finance database and relevant issue analyses are available for free through our Web site FollowTheMoney.org. We encourage transparency and promote independent investigation of state-level campaign contributions by journalists, academic researchers, public-interest groups, government agencies, policymakers, students and the public at large.”

Maplight – “MapLight is a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics in the U.S. Congress and in the California and Wisconsin state legislatures. We provide journalists and citizens with transparency tools that connect data on campaign contributions, politicians, legislative votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence never before possible to see. These tools allow users to gain unique insights into how campaign contributions affect policy so they can draw their own conclusions about how money influences our political system.”

Pacs by Open Secrets – This section lists campaign contributions by PACs and donations to PACs, broken down by sector, industry and unique PAC. Only groups that made contributions during the current or last two election cycles are listed here.


About Miguel Barbosa

I run this site.

25. March 2014 by Miguel Barbosa
Categories: Curated Readings, Wisdom Seeking | Leave a comment

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