Nearly 7 p.m. Sunday, and we’re through 296 members and 41 states–pretty incredible. To all who’ve joined this effort, once again let me offer a heartfelt thank you.
Some preliminary numbers as we move toward the final leg, but first let me point out that these a). haven’t been verified and b). need to be looked at more closely to figure out what they mean. So keep those caveats in mind. Citizen journalists have tentatively identified $480,029 in campaign expenditures going from a House member’s campaign to a firms that employs that member’s spouse in the current election cycle. Citizen journalists have also tentatively found that organizations for which House members’ spouses work have landed a total of $2,788,663,441–that’s $2.7 billion–in federal contracts in 2005 (the last full year for which information is available) and $2,649,935,942–$2.6 billion–in federal grants in 2004 (again, the last year for which we have complete data).
What does this mean? I’m not sure. Maybe if you picked 296 names at random out of a phone book, you’d come up with similar figures for the companies they worked for. It’s the particulars here that count, and we’ll begin digging into them once we’re through phase one.