Donald Trump prevailed on Election Day, despite being outspent in local advertising by a ratio of 9-to-1 by Hillary Clinton.... View ArticleContinue reading
AT&T and its intended, DirecTV, gain DC clout via their contributions, fundraising and lobbying expenditures. Another way their power is revealed is in just how much they make themselves known before the FCC. The answer: a lot.Continue reading
Whoops. Looks like some lobbyists have been dropping their "bundles" where we can't see them.Continue reading
After a half-decade cataloguing political fundraising invitations (nearly 18,000 and counting!), the Sunlight Foundation decided to throw a bash of our own Tuesday to celebrate the fifth anniversary of our Political Party Time site.
Some of Party Time's most loyal fans -- dozens of journalists and civic activists who use our data to shine light on money and influence in politics -- joined us to toast Party Time and tell favorite war stories.
"I'd like to thank Political Party Time for making sure I can never visit the city of Charlotte, N.C. ever again," quipped Andy Sullivan of Reuters, referring to the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. "Thanks to the data you provided, I wrote a story that so angered the host committee of the DNC (Democratic National Committee) that I'm no longer welcome there."Continue reading
We’ve told you before about the innovative ways our elected representatives raise cash: from assault rifle raffles to March Madness fund-a-thons to swanky out-of-town retreats. But taking a step back from all the invites shows some interesting trends. Check the graphic below, and see more dataviz on our 18,000 political fundraising invitations after the jump!Continue reading
Fiscally-minded senators and the K Street reps of some of the country's most popular professional sporting leagues may be lacing up the cleats for a battle over the tax-exempt status of these groups.
Bloomberg News is reporting that budget hawk Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is leading a push to challenge the 501(c)6 status of groups like the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the Professional Golfers Association -- citing the need to close loopholes in the tax code and the $109 million that taxing these groups would add to the federal budget over ten years. However ...Continue reading
When it comes to political fundraising, Congress doesn’t travel very far; 76 percent of all political fundraisers in D.C. take place within three city blocks of the U.S. Capitol, a new study by the Sunlight Foundation shows. Additionally, these fundraisers are concentrated in and around congressional working hours and on days when the House and Senate are in session (more to come on this trend tomorrow). What this map illustrates, in interactive color, is how deeply ingrained fundraising has become in the day-to-day life of Washington and in the routines of the people who work here.Continue reading
August. It’s the month official Washington escapes the steaming city and heads elsewhere—and that includes the political fundraisers. But members of Congress and other politicians don’t stop their race for cash when they go home to their districts; instead, they take the parties with them. This week, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., is hosting donors for a Cubs game in Wrigley Field. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho has a “hook and bullet” fundraiser for his political action committee in Sun Valley. On Saturday, Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., will fete big givers at the Saratoga race course. We know about all this and much, much more because on this day five years ago, we officially launched Sunlight’s one-of-a-kind database of political fundraisers, Political Party Time. Since then, we have archived some 18,000 invitations and, in the process, gained new insights -- for better and for worse -- into the folkways of American political life. From the mini-golf course on DC’s gentrifying H Street NE to the links of Kiawah Island’s Sanctuary course, from Krispy Kreme breakfasts to champagne brunches, from Lambeau Field to a Beyonce concert, we’ve tracked the literally round-the-clock efforts of our nation’s elected officials to raise campaign cash and travails of their equally relentless fellow travelers: the lobbyists who must fork over the cash for a chance to dine on what goes for MRE’s in “This Town:” hors d’oeuvres on a toothpick. It’s a system nobody really loves: not the lawmakers who publicly bemoan the hours they spend raising money nor the lobbyists whose inboxes burst with ever more innovative reasons for them to spend time away from their loved ones.Continue reading
Good news for making the case for campaign finance transparency! The Committee for Economic Development, a nonpartisan business-oriented public policy nonprofit, released an illuminating report and survey of business leaders this week that shows large majorities of American business executives agree the campaign finance system is in need of complete overhaul, with 90 percent of survey respondents supporting reforms that disclose all individual, corporate and labor contributions to political committees.Continue reading
We at the Sunlight Foundation spend a lot of time looking over the political fundraising invitations that keep pouring into our Political Party Time website. So we were very excited to read a paper by Yale Political Science Professor Eleanor Neff Powell, who used our Party Time data to investigate an often underappreciated aspect of the political fundraising circle: headlining for others. By carefully analyzing the corpus of fundraising invitations that we’ve compiled over the years, Powell was able to uncover evidence of an economy of favors in the Washington fundraising circuit. Members of Congress who headline events for other members get something in return – votes for their legislation. Or, as Powell puts it:
Controlling for the ideological similarity of their past voting records, a Democratic Congressman is 5.5% more likely to vote for a bill for each fundraising event the bill’s sponsor has headlined for them in the past (Republican Congressmen are 2.5% more likely). These results show a strong relationship between fundraising assistance and subsequent legislative voting behavior and suggest potentially serious consequences for representationContinue reading