Voters in states with competitive races are being overloaded with advertising from outside interests trying to influence their vote. In red-hot Alaska, outsiders have spent at least $120 for each likely voter.Continue reading
DCCC and NRCC drive outside spending in the House
What makes a House race expensive? Generally, its national party committees and a small group of closely aligned outside players.Continue reading
What it takes to be a major player in policymaking
What makes an organization like AARP so influential on Capitol Hill? It takes more than lobbying and campaign contributions to have a voice in policymaking.Continue reading
Who has a say in Washington: Policymakers listen to interest groups instead of the public
The American public believes that “the government is pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves” rather than “the benefit of all of the people.” But is there actual evidence to prove this?Continue reading
Who’s going to blink? Influence profiles of eight who could end the shutdown
If the government shutdown is going to be resolved, it's going to take compromise by some key players who so far haven't shown much willingness to bend. So who might influence these influentials? Sunlight decided to examine some of the monied interests behind key figures in the debate.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, in many cases the special interests are closely aligned with their beneficiaries' positions in the standoff, which largely revolves around the health care debate.
Here's a closer look:
The president is the most prodigious fundraising weapon in the Democrats' arsenal. His campaign's success in ...Continue reading
Ten ways special interests want to change the U.S. tax code
Sunlight’s new tax lobbying analysis gives the big picture on what tax lobbying looks like, visualizing what happens when 2,221 organizations in 336 sectors spend an estimated combined $773 million to hire 6,503 different lobbyists to advocate on 1,454 bills in a single two-year Congress. Here, we take a closer look at some of the specific proposed changes to the tax code. The ten bills highlighted here offer a window into the ways in which narrow interests work with lawmakers from both parties to tweak the tax code in narrow ways. Though none of these proposals have been enacted into law (yet), they offer a sampling of the many ways that particular interests work to benefit a particular industry, company, or set of professionals, or to incentivize a particular behavior.Continue reading
What big donors would like to hear in the State of the Union
Though we can't predict the rhetorical tropes--not the thematic structure or the memorable lines or phrases that will fall flat--a look at the world of influence might tell us some of the issues President Barack Obama will touch on in his fourth State of the Union address. If a part of politics is rewarding your friends while giving your opponents good government, then the 2012 contest--which featured history's first billion-dollar presidential campaign (Obama's), first billion-dollar-plus outside spending campaign, plus oodles of special interest cash flowing to congressional candidates--leaves a lot of ground to cover.
Sunlight combed through ...Continue reading
Looking Back at the Convention Parties
Our Party Time hostess, Nancy Watzman, looks back fondly over her two weeks of Democratic and Republican convention party crashing... View ArticleContinue reading
The Parties Go On
Last week, finger food and Kanye; this week, finger food and Tom DeLay. The convention parties have already kicked off... View ArticleContinue reading
Whose Substantive Agenda?
Though preferred solutions to these issues might differ, I think that the issues identified in these Gallup polls--which potential voters rank as the most important facing the country, or the most important in determining their votes in the congressional elections, would be hard to argue with: The situation in Iraq, terrorism, the economy & jobs, immigration, education and health care. Right now we are in the midst of the election season, and candidates are, to a greater or lesser extent, putting before the public their views on these issues, while trying, during the last few days that remain on the pre-election legislative calendar, to address some of these concerns (for example, building a wall to deter illegal immigration, adotping new rules governing the treatment of terrorism suspects held by the United States, and approving spending for operations in Iraq and Afghinistan. As citizens, we may or may not agree with what Congress is doing, we might prefer a more robust debate on these issues, we might even have preferred it if members of Congress had begun addressing these concerns much earlier in this legislative session rather than schedule so few working days.Continue reading