1) Maplight: is a “nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics in the U.S. Congress and in the California and Wisconsin Legislatures. We provide …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 insight into how campaign contributions affect policy so they can draw their own conclusions about how money influences our political system.”
This site is a treasure-house (no pun intended) of data and information about money in politics. See: www.maplight.org.
“This is the most extraordinary use of technology I believe I have seen when it comes to politics.” Dylan Ratigan, MSNBC
2) Money and the Keystone Pipeline: The outcome of the current debate over the Keystone Pipeline has been predicted by the group United Republic. They predict it will be approved. Why do they believe this? Look at the money. Lobbying efforts in favor add up to about $178 million, while those against have raised only about $5 million. See: http://unitedrepublic.org/2013/political-money-predicts-future-keystone/.
3) Money Matters in Wisconsin: The attempt to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2012 was one of the most highly contested political battles in recent memory. Money played a big role. Here are some significant numbers, compiled by Joshua Graham Lynn and posted on the United Re:public website: http://unitedrepublic.org/2012/money-wins-the-day-in-wisconsin/.
4) In Florida Contributions of $140,000 Preceded a State Contract of $52 million: a company just nine months old contributed a total of $140 million to Gov. Rick Scott and the state GOP, and shortly thereafter benefited from a single government contract valued up to $52 million. In a post on Daily KOS, blogger Hunter stated: “If this isn’t crooked, it’s only because we’ve defined crookedness down so much that it doesn’t exist anymore“. For details on Gov.Rick Scott and the deal click here.
5) Dark Money in Michigan: Rich Robinson, at the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, has released MCFN’s annual report for 2012. The report shines some light on campaign finances in Michigan, but Robinson concludes: “Record spending and a continuing trend of diminishing accountability for that spending were the major features of Michigan’s 2012 state election campaigns.” For a summary of the report click here, and for a copy of the full 100+ page report, click here.
6) So, Who Pays For the Bentleys? Walter Shapiro, in an article posted by the Brennan Center for Justice titled “How About Some Transparency for Big Donors?”, looks at the big bucks made by “ad makers and strategists” of our “campaign industrial complex” , a business which comes complete with parking lots that look like a “Bentley showroom”. Here’s someone asking where all the money in campaigns actually goes, and the picture isn’t pretty. Click here for the article.