We are thrilled to announce that the Sunlight Foundation has decided to fund two new projects, Metavid and More Perfect. Metavid, created by two UCSC grad students, captures video footage of the House and Senate in action, and is searchable by keyword. Look up "uranium," "peanut butter," or "minimum wage" and watch, on video, what has been said about that subject on the House and Senate floors. When I showed an old colleague the Metavid site, he immediately started looking up words for clients of his who are running for federal office, to see what their opponents had said. But the implications are much broader for the public, which typically has the choice of watching hours of C-SPAN in hopes of catching something, or watching no law-making at all.
Earlier, Larry documented how Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) is flush with campaign contributions as his primary battle comes to a close tomorrow. Lieberman has received contributions from numerous political action committees and political allies along with contributions from people across the country. Lieberman’s challenger, Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, is his own biggest campaign contributor having given himself $2 million dollars over the past 15 days. Lamont has also brought in contributions from a wide variety of people including top Democratic fundraisers, liberal philanthropists, and investors.
Donations to the Connecticut Senate race between incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman and businessman Ned Lamont are coming in from all over the country. Literally.
Even by the end of June – the last contributions available in computerized form from the Federal Election Commission – Lieberman’s beleaguered reelection campaign had drawn donors from 44 states and Puerto Rico. Lamont’s money came from 27 states.
While Connecticut led the list for both candidates, it was a much more important source of funds for Lamont than for the incumbent. Between January 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006 Lieberman collected 75% of his individual contributions from outside Connecticut, while Lamont drew only 20% of his from outside the state. The totals include only contributions above $200. Smaller amounts are reported only in bulk and not itemized.
As the uphill fight by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to hang on to his Senate seat reaches its final stages, the money is flowing in so fast to his reelection campaign that there’s hardly even time for neat handwriting.
For the past couple of hours I’ve been poring over 165 pages of handwritten reports filed by the campaign with the Federal Election Commission – the 48-hour notice reports that outline the contributions received between July 20 and August 3rd.
I began this day with an IM conversation with Larry Makinson about trying to get our hands on the most recently campaign contribution reports for the Lieberman-Lamont race. It dawned on us that the records could be pretty interesting. My thought had been to simply to direct our readers to the reports that were on line and let them search around. I guess we should have known it wouldn't be that easy. Our dialogue is instructive. Imagine if two novices were trying to find this information.
Ellen (9:00:14 AM): Got a blog idea for you this morning!
With Congress finally clearing out of town for a month’s recess, I thought I could relax a little, but then I saw the headline in Saturday’s Oregonian – the state’s largest paper, based in Portland: “N.Y. Cash Colors Oregon Ballot.”
Okay, I know this is money in politics at the state level – and in a state, moreover, that has something the federal government doesn’t have: ballot initiatives. But if you think congressional election races are tainted by big money, just take a look at what’s happened to the initiative process in those states – mostly west of the Missisippi – that allow them.
Make that HAS RUN OUT - for judicial confirmations, immigration reform, or much of anything before the elections. When Congress gets back from it's August recess after Labor Day there will only 14 legislative days, what with no voting on Mondays and Fridays, before leaving town on September 29th for the elections. Someone should calculate congressmen's hourly wage.
In demonology, apparently, GAAP is “a mighty Prince and Great President of Hell, commanding sixty-six legions of demons... [H]e can cause love or hate and make men insensible and invisible. . . . According to a few authors he can make men ignorant.” In business, GAAP is Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. According to a USA Today story today, these principles are not followed by the US Government, which is more inclined to stick with methods that make men ignorant:
The federal government keeps two sets of books.
The 2006 elections are shaping up to be the most troublesome kind for political practitioners: unpredictable. What makes me say that this early in the season is a new report from the Campaign Finance Institute, a non-profit research group in Washington that takes a rigorous academic look at the latest trends in political financing.
They’ve been looking at the latest FEC reports on spending in congressional races and found that in competitive districts – those relatively few spots on the map where the seat may be winnable by either party – challengers are raising ample sums to take on the incumbents, as are candidates from both parties in close districts with open seats.
It’s August here in Washington -- although if it weren’t for the classical architecture and the lobbyists wearing reflective sunglasses you’d think it was Pakistan from the temperature -- and members of Congress are fleeing the city, running back to their districts to do anything that will help their reelection chances with an electorate that’s looking for head’s to roll (or as President Bush might call it, to have their “accountability moment”). Some candidates may have an easier time than others. For instance, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) is running uncontested allowing him to go on The Colbert Report and proclaim that he enjoys cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do. On the other hand we have another Floridian, Rep. Katherine Harris (R) who is running to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).