D.C. lobbyists do the heavy lifting, saving home town folks the back aches
Most of us have ended up on congressional mailing lists. Issues large and small provoke the incessant emails warning of dire consequences unless we immediately cough up cash. The requests hit breakneck speed preceding elections and the release of quarterly reports, where a competitive showing is crucial to incumbents seeking reelection and desirous of quashing upstart challengers.
But how much do they actually need us? Are the home folks of either party the backbone of incumbent’s revenue streams?
As dedicated observers of the political scene, our interest was piqued as we stumbled onto MapLight, a newly launched site that promotes itself as “Revealing Money’s Influence on Politics.” Check out the golden links along the top of the home page.
There is an abundance of fascinating information here which we have just begun to examine.
Among the items that provided a chuckle was this dual list (House and Senate) showing who gets the most money from the agricultural chemicals companies.
Who’da guessed John McCain, who is legendary for spreading manure, would be a top recipient of the fertilizer industry?
Take a minute to read the Research Guide and look into the navigation tools —- especially those that show the correlation between donations to politicians and the corresponding favorable votes they cast. It’s all there on “Contributions By Vote.”
“Money Near Votes” shows all contributions given within days, weeks, or months of a vote, and the effect of that dough on voting yes or no.
You’ll want to check out any House or Senate member here and see who their major donors are and how much they give. Incumbency pays well, which is why it’s so difficult to oust entrenched Washington players.
Another intriguing site revealing the political money trail is the Sunlight Foundation. Its home page, Political Party Time, has this compelling intro:
“From the early hours of the morning until late in the evening, politicians are breaking bread and sipping cocktails with donors. Sunlight’s Party Time lets you know who’s fundraising and where.”
Not surprisingly, a good portion of the fundraising takes place in Washington, D.C.