Finance Industry Giving Visualized

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Wonder just how Wall Street has become so influential on Capitol Hill that it can command the attention of the federal government from the President on down? The answer isn’t only in how gyrations in the stock market may affect the real economy. The answer is revealed by the fact that the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) industries that collectively are at the center of the current crisis are the single largest sector–by far–of all the major economic and interest groupings that give campaign contributions to federal politicians.

Our friends at the Center for Responsive Politics have been keeping track since 1990, and their data tells a compelling story. What you see is a new way of actually picturing the role of FIRE in relation to all these other sectors, and also in terms of how money from FIRE has tilted to one political party and then the other. You can click on the chart, which was built using Google’s Motion Chart tool, layered on top of a simple spreadsheet, and mouse over the colored circle to drill down on the data. First, we recommend you watch this explanatory screencast by our very own Larry Makinson.

Industry Sector Campaign Contributions from 1990 – 2008

Data courtesy of OpenSecrets.org

If you would like to display the chart on your site/blog, the code can be found here.

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  • Ezequiel

    Besides the great info, I was wondering if you could give us some hints on how you built that graph with parameters.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Fantastic visualisations.

  • Jesse

    Hey there, this is my first blog, so you will have to bear with me on this…. well… let’s do this… THIS IS SPARTAAAAA!!!!

  • You can really see the effect that BCRA has on Labor contributions here. I don’t see an effect on any other sector though.

    Labor goes from a high in giving in 2002 of $96.76 million down to $45 million in 2008 (so far). That’s a pretty astronomical drop-off.

  • VERY cool graph! Puts it all into perspective. But why did they use the acronym FIRE when RIFE is so much more appropriate? :)

  • This is great. Thx for the good work.