Seattle Times Creates Earmark, Political Contributions and Lobbying Database


Sunlight’s Real Time Investigations’ Project has done partial investigations into the connections between earmark recipients and their political contributions, but the Seattle Times has launched a database of 2007 defense earmarks for every member of Congress compared to the political contributions they received from the recipients of those earmarks. They also included how much was spent on lobbying by the recipients. (The campaign finance information only goes back six years. It’s unclear what period the lobbying money covers.) You can search by lawmaker’s name or by the name of a company or nonprofit that got the earmark. You can also browse lawmakers or earmark recipients by state. (Click on the corporate names for the information on how much was spent on lobbying.)

The reporters were able to tie only about half of the 2,700 earmarks in the 2007 defense spending bill to members of Congress. And they included only items Congress funded that the military did not ask for. Even so, they found some 45,000 matches.

These reporters really did it the hard way. It’s curious to me that they didn’t start with the work of Taxpayers for Common Sense and combine that with the lobbying and campaign finance databases of the Center for Responsive Politics.

Who got the most campaign contributions from donors at companies who got earmarks?

Who gave the most political money?

I wonder if anyone has looked solely at the contractors working in Iraq.