The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label money in politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money in politics. Show all posts

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Money In Politics: Elections To The Highest Bidder; Governance With Less Regard For The People

The Center for Responsive Politics continues to work to educate a populace about money in politics. Unfortunate, we are preoccupied with manipulation and subterfuge from political operatives and we are simply not paying attention. Thus, we relegate ourselves to the uninformed low information voters (LIVS) that provide substantial revenues for cable networks like CNN and Fox News.  

While organizations like the American Legislative Exchange(ALEC) and major plutocrats like the Kochs are well known for huge infusions of cash to politicians, there are other sources. Fortunately, President Obama and the Democrats reaped moderately more contributions than Romney/Ryan and the cabal of US regression (AKA the GOP). 

Our point cannot be better illustrated than the following from Demonocracy Dot Info. If you follow the link to the website, you will come away with validation the Democrats out-paced the GOP in 2012 and you will also find major contributions from small donors carried the elections. Donors giving under $2500 ran roughshod around mega donors from the Right.
US Presidential Elections - For sale to highest bidder
In America, winning the Presidency has proven to be a question of how much money you're willing to spend. The trend constantly shows that, he who spends the most money on elections usually wins. 
A new law in 2010 allowed SuperPACs, through which people can indirectly (often secretly) donate unlimited amounts of money to a candidate. Since the candidate who raises most money, usually wins... the election is up for the highest bidder. Data collection date: 2012-08-14
2012 Presidential Elections - Who gets the most money usually wins

Our candidates have managed to organize serious sums of cash. Donations are mostly limited to $2500 per person, per candidate, but the Campaign finance laws are confusing and full of loop-holes. 

Bank of New York MelFlon - Derivative Exposure

Super PACs: 
Where the donations are spent

SuperPACs spend their money on advertising that attacks or defends a presidential candidate. They usually use the their raised money for negative ads, destroying the candidates that oppose their agenda. 

Obama is getting 'attacked' the most by negative SuperPAC ads. 

Mitt Romney got $14.6 million of positive ads from SuperPACs. 

Super PACs spent $4.86 million on positive ads for Ron Paul, and only $134,000 on negative ads. 

Source: OpenSecrets

2012 Super Pac's Total Raised - American Crossroads, Priorities USA Action, Restore Our Future

The Demonocracy site offers many additional comparisons and each points to the fact that money rules all in US politics. Of particular interest is the section of the page that delineates top donors.

After the Demoncracy data, think about taking a break and coming back to data from Open Secrets. The monitoring authority has published a 10 Things You Need To Know About Money In Politics

We are going to post one chart from the first five of the "10 Things" pages. 

Millionaire candidates

Millionaire candidates present one of the more credible threats to an incumbent, but they don't have a very good track record. During the 2010 election cycle, only 11 of 58 millionaire candidates who challenged House and Senate incumbents using their own money to finance their campaigns actually won.

The rising price of admission

Does the rising cost of elections discourage those without monied connections, or money themselves, from running for elected office? Consider this: The average winner of a U.S. House race in 2010 spent about $1.4 million. The Senate? Nearly seven times more. Hiring staff, running ads and otherwise operating a robust campaign is ever more expensive. And each midterm election or presidential election cycle costs more than the previous one -- by a lot. According to research by, the 2010 midterm election cost $3.6 billion -- about 28% more than the 2006 midterm election. The 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has unleashed tens of millions in spending by special interest groups attempting to advance their agendas.

Large donors took  the nation to the House of Oz in 2010.  We need say no more about a congress that has the lowest approval ratings in US History. 

Every politician loves to talk about all the "small" donations they've received, But the money that really pays for elections comes from big donors, not little ones.
If you've never given money to a politician in your life, join the club. Polls have shown that less than 10% of Americans have ever given a contribution to candidates for any office, at any level. And if you look at contributions big enough to be reported to the Federal Election Commission -- those exceeding $200 -- the number of Americans contributing in a typical election year is infinitesimal. Even in the presidential election year of 2008, which saw more people giving than ever before, barely more than one-half of one percent gave more than $200 to a federal candidate, political action committee or party.

The remaining "Five Things" illustrate exactly what is meant by "Dark Money." 

The messages here: The sad state of money in politics, the power of the small donors in the general elections, and the fact we have to compete as we move in to 2014. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Open Secrets: Money Towards The 2014 Midterm Elections....GOP Is Winning The Money Battles!

If you do not know, you should know we are in the first quarter (figuratively) of the Mid-Terms elections.  Early in the game , THE GOP IS WINNING the Money battles.   

Would you like to see a tall check on how political contributors are shaping-up for the 2014 mid-term elections.  Before, we go there via Open Secretes, we ash that we all remember how the GOP (via money brokers and hatred of Obama) secured a majority in the House of Representatives.  Do we need say more? 

The Center for Responsive Politics (Open Secrets)


Stats at a Glance


Financial activity for all House candidates, 2013-2014
Democrats: $83,281,825
Republicans: $105,946,622
PartyNo. of CandsTotal RaisedTotal SpentTotal Cash
on Hand
from PACs
from Indivs


Financial activity for all Senate candidates, 2013-2014
Democrats: $54,498,094
Republicans: $40,657,552
PartyNo. of CandsTotal RaisedTotal SpentTotal Cash
on Hand
from PACs
from Indivs
Based on data released by the FEC on 10/11/2013.
To view data for previous cycles, visit our Big Picture section.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Open Secrets: Men Contribute More Than Women On US Politics!

Open Secrets is an encyclopedia (or modern contemporary data and information repository) of money in politics.  We regularly select articles to publish here on the TPI. If you are truly interested in money in politics, do not simply read pieces we place here. Visit the site, link to the site, establish Facebook Notifications, maybe even setup a Twitter notification.  "High Information" people will find the time spent on Open Secrets invaluable.   Warning, based on site content you will grow even more contemptuous of "low information" people who ignore facts and pose arguments straight out of Fox News, Hannity Limbaugh and Beck bag of circus barking.

We feel the issue is critical for reasons additional to points delineated by Open Secrets. Example, of the Fortune 500 CEO's less than eight percent are women.  Do you do see the relevance? Think in terms of the Good Ol Boy network.  Do you see the relevance now?  Men hire, promote and mentor men far more than women. Thus, we see clear discrimination and workplace disparity in earnings.  

While men donors may be more inclined to donate for "best return on investment," rest assured gender will become a secondary factor as men open their wallets. Now if you will simply factor a does of conservatism to the mix, guess what?  Good Ol Boy white male candidates indebted to their money-brokers.  

Open Secrets, enjoy!


Responsive Politics report on women as donors and candidates
by Sarah Bryner and Doug Weber, Sept. 26, 2013
The Center for Responsive Politics


In 1989, a gallon of gas cost 97 cents. The USSR was still a formidable world power, Germany was not yet a united country, and Madonna's Like a Prayer was one of the most popular pop songs of the year. And, in the lead-up to the 1990 elections, 31 women were serving in Congress.

How much things change, and yet, how much they stay the same.

The 2012 congressional elections saw a record number of women elected to both the House and Senate. And even though most of his large campaign donations came from men, Barack Obama relied more heavily on female campaign contributors than any general election presidential candidate since at least 1988.

But many patterns have remained remarkably consistent. In the 1990 campaign cycle, 22 percent of all itemized federal contributions came from women. So far in this election cycle, 25 percent of all contributions have come from women. This 3 percent increase, substantially smaller than the increases seen in the numbers of female elected officials, is one telling component in a much more complex story about how women campaign donations by women have changed over time.

In this special report, we'll detail trends in contributions to women candidates, and from women donors. Some takeaways:
As candidates, female Democrats rely most heavily (and male Republicans, the least) on the support of female contributors. That's been the case since 1990. 

Of the top 100 contributors in 2012, 11 were women; that's down from the 21 who fell into that elite group of donors in 1990. 

As politics has become more polarized, so too have the patterns of donations from women. They donate more consistently to congressional Democrats. But women who have outside employment (as compared to homemakers) have moved to the left, while those who self-identify as homemakers have moved to the right. 

Even though women are more evenly represented in Congress than ever before, the “donor gap” between men and women is still real, and remarkably steady.

Women as Candidates

The number of high-profile female politicians continues to creep up. But, in the 30 years that has been monitoring campaign finance and elections, the political landscape for female candidates hasn't shifted as much as one might guess.

Certainly, there are more women in Congress than there were in 1990. Then, 7 percent of all winning House candidates were women. By 2012, nearly 18 percent of victorious House candidates were women. Although this may seem like a major increase, not all candidates win at the same rate. There are more Democratic female candidates and more winners, whereas the number of Republican female candidates, as well as the number of winners, has stayed static. In fact, the 2012 congressional elections led to a decrease in the number of House Republican women -- 20 GOP women won, down from an all-time high of 23 in 2008. Even since the election, one of those women (JoAnn Emerson, a Missouri Republican) left office and was replaced by a man (Jason Smith).

The parties have not always been so dissimilar in this area. In 1990, 10 percent of the Democrats' general election House candidates were women (38), compared to 7 percent of Republican general election House candidates (28). However, in 2012, the Democrats fielded 116 female candidates (28 percent of the party's candidate pool) while the Republicans ran only 48 women candidates (11 percent of their pool). As candidates, female Democrats seem to be slightly more likely to win their contests than female Republicans -- about 50 percent of female Democrats won in 2012, compared to 41 percent of female Republicans (although many other factors contribute to election success).

Generally, some candidates are more likely than others to receive money from women donors. Female Democrats receive the highest proportion of their money from women, and Republican men receive the lowest. This trend can be seen just by scanning the list of the members of the 113th Congress who received the highest proportion of their money from women. Of the top 10 members from each chamber, only one, Bernie Sanders, is not a female Democrat. Similarly, of the members who received the lowest percentage of their money from female donors, only three -- Ed Markey, Gene Green, and Mark Pryor -- are not Republican men. The sitting member who received the least amount of money from women is Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), who took in only 9.5 percent of his total itemized contributions from women.

Highest Percent of Campaign Donations from Women

MemberTotal Gender CodedTotal from Women% from Women
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif)$5,964,690$2,698,95245.3%
Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis)$17,411,227$7,620,48243.7%
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)$10,586,560$4,492,95542.4%
Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass)$1,231,254$498,35640.5%
Claire McCaskill (D-Mo)$2,613,188$1,018,46939%
Kay R. Hagan (D-NC)$10,468,423$3,977,45938%
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt)$3,042,583$1,153,74937.9%
Patty Murray (D-Wash)$9,480,395$3,581,24637.8%
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn)$3,713,972$1,394,80037.6%
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)$3,844,184$1,381,04435.9%
MemberTotal Gender CodedTotal from Women% from Women
Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill)$686,044$445,90065%
Julia Brownley (D-Calif)$1,077,108$550,87251.1%
Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)$533,925$271,32050.8%
Jackie Speier (D-Calif)$443,479$222,72450.2%
Donna Edwards (D-Md)$241,234$118,10049%
Betty McCollum (D-Minn)$253,436$122,67748.4%
Lois Capps (D-Calif)$1,472,863$709,95148.2%
Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)$587,046$280,63447.8%
Ann Mclane Kuster (D-NH)$1,524,411$717,31447.1%
Robin Kelly (D-Ill)$222,405$103,15046.4%

Lowest Percent of Campaign Donations from Women

MemberTotal Gender CodedTotal from Women% from Women
Thad Cochran (R-Miss)$1,172,839$145,73112.4%
David Vitter (R-La)$6,349,395$1,023,16316.1%
Ed Markey (D-Mass)$446,615$75,25016.9%
James M. Inhofe (R-Okla)$3,183,135$541,42417%
Tom Coburn (R-Okla)$1,016,514$184,67518.1%
Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)$1,495,767$274,85518.4%
Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala)$3,618,554$669,78318.5%
Mark Pryor (D-Ark)$2,683,647$499,41918.6%
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)$4,414,776$922,69220.9%
John A. Barrasso (R-Wyo)$2,985,542$632,68921.2%
MemberTotal Gender CodedTotal from Women% from Women
Howard Coble (R-NC)$118,275$11,2409.5%
Steve Scalise (R-La)$676,295$69,15010.2%
Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala)$431,035$44,53510.3%
Gene Green (D-Texas)$150,550$16,45010.9%
Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)$282,333$33,03011.7%
Tom Cole (R-Okla)$455,181$54,30011.9%
Chris Collins (R-NY)$393,910$51,90013.2%
Frank D. Lucas (R-Okla)$408,694$54,00013.2%
Adrian Smith (R-Neb)$332,086$44,24213.3%
Rob Bishop (R-Utah)$102,404$13,65013.3%

Of course, just receiving more or less money from women does not mean that the lawmakers are likely to behave any differently from each other once elected, nor does it mean that those members are receiving less money from women for any specific reason. However, access is often granted to deep-pocketed campaign donors, and if those campaign donors are predominantly male (or female), this may be an indication that the politician is more likely to grant access to men.

Women as Contributors

Women are actually slightly better represented among large campaign donors than they are among members of Congress, but not among the very deep-pocketed donors. In 2012, women contributed just under 30 percent of all of the money given that cycle, but they only contributed 19 percent of all money to outside spending groups, which are allowed to receive unlimited contributions. And, if we remove contributions by the top woman donor (Miriam Adelson) from the list, women contributed only 11 percent of all money to outside groups. In fact, women tended to give, per capita, smaller donations than did male contributors. Of the 100 most generous campaign contributors in 2012, only 11 were women.

Looking only at the amount of money coming from women can be deceptive. The candidates who get the most money, as a percentage, from women are almost entirely female Democrats, but the average female contributor is not necessarily donating to female Democrats. Fewer Republican women run for Congress, and so -- naturally -- more money tends to flow from women to Democratic women, compared to Republican women.

However, as a proportion of the overall amount of money given, women only marginally tend to prefer Democratic candidates. In fact, in 1996, women favored Republican congressional candidates. Substantially more money was delivered from women to George W. Bush than to Al Gore in 2000, although Bush refused matching funds and had no limit on his primary fundraising, leading him to receive much more money than Gore.

Barack Obama, however, received 70 percent more campaign money from women than did John McCain in the 2008 presidential contest. In 2012, Obama was also more dependent on female contributors than any general election presidential candidate since 1990. More than 44 percent of his itemized campaign money came from women, while only 28 percent of Mitt Romney's money was provided by women.

Contributions to Federal Candidates from Women

CycleAmount from women to CandidatesAmount from Women to DemocratsPercent of women's money to Democrats

Women are not a monolith, of course. They represent different interests and industries, and come from different backgrounds. In 1990, homemakers donated similarly to women who work outside the home, based on party preferences. In fact, homemakers were very slightly more likely to support Democrats in 1990 than were women who reported outside employment. That reversed itself and the gap has widened since 1990, and in 2012, 56 percent of the donations from women who reported outside employment went to Democrats, compared to 37 percent of the donations from women who self-identified as homemakers.

Employed Women vs. Homemaker Contributions

CycleEmployed Women
% to Dems
Female Homemakers
% to Dems
Difference between
% to Democrats

The overall number of homemakers, as a proportion of overall donations, is still a small share of the overall pool, with these women only contributing between 7 percent and 9 percent of all money since 1990. From this data, it appears that even though a similar proportion of the overall pool is composed of homemakers, those homemakers are becoming more conservative, or the women who enter the workforce are becoming more liberal.

Just as not all women have outside employment, not all women who have outside employment are in the same kinds of jobs. Women report employers from many different industries, but substantial variation exists in how large a share of these industries' contributions come from women. For example, only 16 percent of contributions from the defense sector came from women in 2012. More than 43 percent of contributions from the “ideological” sector came from women.

These numbers do not necessarily suggest that fewer women work in the defense sector than in the ideological sector. What they do suggest is that candidates who receive substantial amounts of money from the defense sector are less likely to receive money from women.

Certain industries are also more likely to see more money flowing from female donors to federal candidates. So far this cycle, more than 63 percent of all money from the nonprofit sector has come from women. Other industries that tend to see a larger percentage of their contributions from women include miscellaneous services, education, and religious institutions. Those industries that lean more on men making contributions include casinos and gambling, defense aerospace, special trade contractors, and mining.

Limits & Legal Reform

In the last 24 years, there have been dramatic shifts in the ways individuals can donate money. Until 2002, individuals could give essentially unlimited amounts of money to political parties, which could then distribute those funds to state parties and candidates which could spend that money on issue ads that were permitted to mention federal candidates. This "soft money" system allowed individuals to circumvent contribution limits.

In 2002, Congress passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which banned unlimited soft money. But in 2009, legal developments allowed individuals (and organizations) to begin donating unlimited sums of money to "independent expenditure only" committees. These committees provided deep-pocketed individuals with the opportunity to spend large amounts of money again.

What do these legal changes have to do with women's donation habits? Women tend to make up a larger percentage of the donor pool when contribution amounts are limited by law -- although the overall percentage of women donating tends to be no higher than 35 percent. In the 2004, 2006 and 2008 cycles, which were the only three since 1990 with strict donation limits restricting the amount of money a single individual could give, the percentage of women as a portion of the donor pool increased.

Breaking out the percentage of women donating to the various types of political recipients reveals some other trends. Women tend to be a larger portion of the donor pool to presidential candidates, and a smaller proportion of the donors to PACs. After 2002, when soft money donations to parties were banned, the proportion of money contributed to the parties by women, compared to men, increased. These trends suggest that when campaign limits are enforced and effective, women tend to make up a larger share of the donor pool.

The Polarization of Women Donors

More women are giving more money to politicians and parties now than they were 20 years ago, and Democrats are growing increasingly dependent on their support. This map shows counties where women have given at least $25,000 in an election cycle. Darker-colored counties are those where contributions to candidates are most polarized, by party.

Women Donors Drift to Left

Men Still Rule in Political Donations

How do we identify contributor's sex?
We use an algorithm developed by Melissa Data (and available here) to decompose a contributor's name into Firstname, Lastname, Prefix, Suffix, and Sex. The software recognizes contextual clues (including identifiers like “Mrs.” or “Mr.”) as well as known sexes for names like John and Mary to sort names into one of four categories: male, female, unknown, or ambiguous. staff members reconcile any conflicting sexes for individual contributors, and manually identify sex for some of the largest contributors.

Methodological Notes

Importantly, this study examines only contributions from individuals who donated at least $200 to an individual candidate, party, PAC, or super PAC. Individuals making contributions of less than that amount are not included in the Federal Election Commission's downloadable file, and are therefore not included in our analysis. There is no reason to believe that individuals who donate more than $200 are a representative sample of all Americans, or even a representative sample of all Americans who donate to federal campaigns. However, these large contributions consistently come to more than 60 percent of the total money received by campaigns, so the impact of individuals who make these contributions is magnified.

The Center for Responsive Politics