Where the Money Goes makes it easier to visualize the contributions that political action committees (PACs) make to your members of Congress, and to each other. Even though multiple sources of contribution data already exist, most are in a tabular format, making it hard to see things in a meaningful way.
With this application you can explore contributions made from PACs-to-Congress and PAC-to-PAC at the same time. You can also view contributions received by a Congress member and the Congress member's PAC together, making it clear exactly how much they received. It allows you to find interesting insights, such as how the Freedom Fund PAC receives donations from hundreds of diverse PACs and also donates to only Republican candidates.
how it works
You can start from either side of the visualization...
- Choose a PAC from an economic sector to see where the money goes--which politicians receive money from that PAC in each election cycle 1998-2008.
- Choose a Legislator from any state to see how much money he/she gets in each election cycle 1998-2008, and from whom.
So what is a Political Action Committee? PACs are interest groups that make contributions to political candidates (Senators or Representatives). Many corporations, unions, and other organizations have their own PACs. And so do politicians themselves!
This project is a submission to Sunlight Labs' Apps for America competition, which encourages developers to help increase government transparency.
Where the Money Goes was made using politician biography information from the Sunlight Labs API and data for PACs and their campaign contributions from OpenSecrets.org. We imported all the data we needed into a local MySQL database. The visualization was made using Adobe Flex 3, and interactions with the database are managed in PHP. Here is the source code.
Where the Money Goes has been an Open Source project that could not have happened without other peoples' contributions to the open community. We have chosen to produce this under the MIT License.
We want your feedback (seriously!):