BREAKING: The Supreme Court has handed down its #McCutcheon v. FEC decision, deciding to strike down aggregate limits on direct political contributions by claiming they are unconstitutional based on the First Amendment.  
It’s another major blow to America’s campaign finance system.
While we are not surprised by today’s outcome, we are disappointed that the plutocracy we predicted is now sanctioned by the high court. Thanks to the high court, wealthy donors can now pour millions more into federal elections - the decision effectively ties a big bow around Congress and delivers it to the 1%.Read Sunlight’s full response to #SCOTUS's decision here: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/04/02/sunlights-response-to-scotus-ruling-on-mccutcheon-v-fec/

BREAKING: The Supreme Court has handed down its #McCutcheon v. FEC decision, deciding to strike down aggregate limits on direct political contributions by claiming they are unconstitutional based on the First Amendment.  

It’s another major blow to America’s campaign finance system.

While we are not surprised by today’s outcome, we are disappointed that the plutocracy we predicted is now sanctioned by the high court. Thanks to the high court, wealthy donors can now pour millions more into federal elections - the decision effectively ties a big bow around Congress and delivers it to the 1%.

Read Sunlight’s full response to #SCOTUS's decision here: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/04/02/sunlights-response-to-scotus-ruling-on-mccutcheon-v-fec/

Posted 3 weeks ago
93 notes

Shining a light on DC campaign finance 

Over the last two years, money from 47 other states has poured into DC municipal contests, raising intriguing questions about what interest contributors might have in races where the debate often centers around parking restrictions, charter schools and creating dog parks. Our analysis shows that contributions from outside DC made up 30 percent of the funding used to fuel local political campaigns.

We’ve just added several years worth of D.C. campaign finance data into Influence Explorer. Dig in here.

FYI, Washington: Sunlight now has a transparency drone. 

FYI, Washington: Sunlight now has a transparency drone. 

Posted 1 year ago
13 notes
Not a data visualization or an infographic but important none the less.
shortformblog:
A community’s great loss: RSS co-creator, early Reddit employee, tech activist Aaron Swartz dies at 26
Swartz committed suicide as he faced a federal trial on criminal charges. One of the hacker world’s most iconic personalities, he had played a key role in building a number of things that defined the internet’s voice, helping build the RSS spec at the age of 14, helping build Reddit in its early days, and playing a key role in modern tech activism. It was this last aspect of his life that got him into significant legal trouble, as he faced a FBI investigation after publicly releasing large parts the for-pay PACER database to the public, then, two years later, found himself facing criminal charges after downloading millions of articles from the private JSTOR academic journal database. Swartz faced $4 million in fines as as many as 35 years in prison over felony charges related to the case — though both MIT and JSTOR declined civil actions in the case. (photo by quinnums/Flickr)
EDIT: Here’s a roundup of some noted tech-world reaction to Swartz’s death.

Not a data visualization or an infographic but important none the less.

shortformblog:

A community’s great loss: RSS co-creator, early Reddit employee, tech activist Aaron Swartz dies at 26

Swartz committed suicide as he faced a federal trial on criminal charges. One of the hacker world’s most iconic personalities, he had played a key role in building a number of things that defined the internet’s voice, helping build the RSS spec at the age of 14, helping build Reddit in its early days, and playing a key role in modern tech activism. It was this last aspect of his life that got him into significant legal trouble, as he faced a FBI investigation after publicly releasing large parts the for-pay PACER database to the public, then, two years later, found himself facing criminal charges after downloading millions of articles from the private JSTOR academic journal database. Swartz faced $4 million in fines as as many as 35 years in prison over felony charges related to the case — though both MIT and JSTOR declined civil actions in the case. (photo by quinnums/Flickr)

EDIT: Here’s a roundup of some noted tech-world reaction to Swartz’s death.

Reblogged 1 year ago from shortformblog
320 notes

Another reason for a fiscal cliff standstill: too many safe seats?

As “fiscal cliff” negotiations continue to slow to a standstill, Americans might be feeling frustrated about the inability of their representatives to reach a compromise. Wasn’t the election supposed to settle the argument?

There are many reasons to explain the intransigence. Last week, we documented the ubiquitous lobbying on tax and budget issues that will almost certainly complicate any attempt to reach a deal.

But there’s another factor to keep in mind: The majority of members of Congress have relatively homogenous constituencies. That means they’re probably hearing overwhelmingly from only one side of the argument back home, and facing limited pressure to find a compromise.

Follow the money from big Dem donors to super PACs to races

Big money won big on Election Day. That is, big money supporting Democrats.
In this year’s campaign, many wealthy individuals and groups with large campaign coffers were involved — directly with contributions to candidates or indirectly through outside spending. Sunlight decided to zero in on five mega-donors who gave the most to super PACs backing liberal candidates.

Check out the House and Presidential races.

Follow the money from big Dem donors to super PACs to races

Big money won big on Election Day. That is, big money supporting Democrats.

In this year’s campaign, many wealthy individuals and groups with large campaign coffers were involved — directly with contributions to candidates or indirectly through outside spending. Sunlight decided to zero in on five mega-donors who gave the most to super PACs backing liberal candidates.

Check out the House and Presidential races.

Posted 1 year ago
98 notes
Come to the Sunlight Foundation on 10/25, we need your help inputting political ad buy data from television markets across the country. Click through to Facebook to sign up!
FCC ruling could exempt 160 markets from posting political ad data

The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote Friday on a rule that would require broadcast stations to post online their public files, including records of political advertisements. That could provide a crucial source of information about the shadowy groups that can now spend unlimited sums to advocate for or against political candidates without having to register with the Federal Election Commission.

Come to the Sunlight Foundation on 10/25, we need your help inputting political ad buy data from television markets across the country. Click through to Facebook to sign up!

FCC ruling could exempt 160 markets from posting political ad data

The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote Friday on a rule that would require broadcast stations to post online their public files, including records of political advertisements. That could provide a crucial source of information about the shadowy groups that can now spend unlimited sums to advocate for or against political candidates without having to register with the Federal Election Commission.

Posted 1 year ago
5 notes
Las Vegas Tops Political Ads on TV

Las Vegas has the most political ads on TV, according to Political Ad Sleuth, with more than 2,300 files in our database. If you just look at Senate ads, though, the No. 1 spot goes to Pennsylvania, which has Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) facing challenger Tom Smith.
Political Ad Sleuth, a project of the Sunlight Foundation and Free Press, is just one week old and already the amount of political ads on TV are hitting record numbers. Be sure to check out how your local media market ranks.

Las Vegas Tops Political Ads on TV

Las Vegas has the most political ads on TV, according to Political Ad Sleuth, with more than 2,300 files in our database. If you just look at Senate ads, though, the No. 1 spot goes to Pennsylvania, which has Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) facing challenger Tom Smith.

Political Ad Sleuth, a project of the Sunlight Foundation and Free Press, is just one week old and already the amount of political ads on TV are hitting record numbers. Be sure to check out how your local media market ranks.

Posted 1 year ago
3 notes
The Evolving State of Funding in Competitive Senate and House Races

How are House and Senate candidates’ war-chests faring this election cycle? The animations below show who has been pulling further ahead, and who has been closing fund-raising gaps as the races mature.

The Evolving State of Funding in Competitive Senate and House Races

How are House and Senate candidates’ war-chests faring this election cycle? The animations below show who has been pulling further ahead, and who has been closing fund-raising gaps as the races mature.

Posted 1 year ago
6 notes
Dark Money Organizations Change Strategies to Keep Donors Secret

As Election Day approaches, two major dark money organizations have been maintaining their aggressive pace of anonymously funded election spending.
Crossroads GPS has now spent at least $108.8 million on political ads this cycle, including over $12 million dollars worth of ads so far in September. The Koch brothers-founded Americans for Prosperity has increased the pace of its spending, hitting a total of at least $65 million, with $32 million coming in the last six weeks. All of Americans for Prosperity’s expenditures have been directed at President Obama, whereas Crossroads GPS has aimed over two thirds of its spending at the President and most of what remains at Democratic Senate candidates.

Dark Money Organizations Change Strategies to Keep Donors Secret

As Election Day approaches, two major dark money organizations have been maintaining their aggressive pace of anonymously funded election spending.

Crossroads GPS has now spent at least $108.8 million on political ads this cycle, including over $12 million dollars worth of ads so far in September. The Koch brothers-founded Americans for Prosperity has increased the pace of its spending, hitting a total of at least $65 million, with $32 million coming in the last six weeks. All of Americans for Prosperity’s expenditures have been directed at President Obama, whereas Crossroads GPS has aimed over two thirds of its spending at the President and most of what remains at Democratic Senate candidates.

Posted 1 year ago
6 notes

Federal candidates depend on financial sector more than any other for campaign money

Candidates running for federal office are two-thirds more dependent on donors from the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector for campaign contributions than any other sector. Through the second quarter of 2012, federal candidates have relied on the sector for 15.2% of their itemized (over $200) contributions, solidly ahead of their dependence on the next closest competitors — health interests (at 8.9%) and lawyers and lobbyists (at 8.8%).

This is not a new phenomenon. In each of the last seven election cycles, federal candidates have depended on the finance sector for between 15% and 17% of their contributions at the same point in the cycle. But with tax reform being high on the agenda no matter who is elected and the finance sector eager to continue to shape the implementation of Wall Street reform, the contributions are as important as ever.

shortformblog:

thepoliticalnotebook:

13 Mexican journalist have disappeared since 2003: here’s a map of their disappearances. These folks, as Atlantic Cities notes, were most likely killed, but unlike a number of their colleagues, their bodies have never been found. The map was made by Articulo 19. They also made an infographic of instance of attacks on the media with firearms and explosives.
[Atlantic Cities]

Nothing sadder than knowing that hard-working journalists went missing on a hunt for the truth.

shortformblog:

thepoliticalnotebook:

13 Mexican journalist have disappeared since 2003: here’s a map of their disappearances. These folks, as Atlantic Cities notes, were most likely killed, but unlike a number of their colleagues, their bodies have never been found. The map was made by Articulo 19. They also made an infographic of instance of attacks on the media with firearms and explosives.

[Atlantic Cities]

Nothing sadder than knowing that hard-working journalists went missing on a hunt for the truth.

Reblogged 1 year ago from shortformblog
144 notes