One of the leading state based organizations that analyzes campaign contributions hails from Virginia. On Friday of last week The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP.org) announced some fascinating new on-line mapping applications as its latest innovation to enhance the public's understanding of the role of money in Virginia politics.
This new mapping initiative provides the public with a visual representation of where Virginia candidates get their campaign contributions. Users can start with a statewide view and zoom to the ZIP Code level.
We agree with them that this new visual way of looking at information should make the campaign finance system more transparent and easier for citizens to use than staring at tables and charts. For most of us, rows and columns of numbers can take us only so far.
Below are some sample map images that they shared with us:
Sen. Stolle : 2007 Donors by Congressional District
Del. Albo: Fairfax County Donors by ZIP Code
But the most fun probably would be to create your own maps, click here.
Too bad the software is not open source since it could easily be adapted by anyone doing campaign finance analysis in any state. Get in touch with David Poole, the genius behind VPAP.org at dpoole at vpap.org if you want to make that happen or have other ideas. (And a shout out to Kathy Cashel, who for many years has worked on the OpenSecrets.org site for her good technical work here.)