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Networked Donors: Political Moneyball

The Wall Street Journal takes a close look at political contributions in a thorough interactive that pulls data from monthly Federal Elections Commission reports.

Pictured above are overall individual and committee contributions (top); contributions and contributors to Restore Our Future, a PAC created to support Mitt Romney (middle left); the balance between ideological or single issue committees and the Democratic and Republican parties (middle right); and who health services and HMO’s are donating to (bottom). (Select any to embiggen).

It’s all very clicky with a various data points available under various layers so explore through.

Meanwhile, via the Wall Street Journal:

We all know that politics is awash in money, money that is accounted for in disclosures made public through the federal government. But the degree to which we understand this universe is limited by how well we can imagine how the players and the money are interconnected.

To better understand, we used social network software to analyze the universe of money in politics.

All the money in politics starts with donors — either individuals or groups like companies and unions. Their donations go to Political Action Committees (which represent the interests of companies or groups) or candidate or party committees (which finance campaigns and other political spending). These committees often send money to one another, which tells us a lot about who their friends are.

Based on the money sent between the players (and other characteristics like party and home state), our presentation pulls players toward similar players and pushes apart those that have nothing in common. The players who are most interconnected (like industry PACs who try to make alliances with everyone) end up close to the center. Those who are less connected (like a donor who only gives money to Ron Paul) are pushed away from the center. The resulting picture is a first-ever interactive portrait of the universe of money in politics, complete with obvious macro lessons (like the gulf between Democrats and Republicans) and with many micro stories that are still emerging.

The interactive was created using CartoDB, a geospatial platform from Vizzuality.