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Congressional Campaign Totals

Members of Congress recently filed their quarterly campaign-finance reports, which detail their political fundraising, spending, cash on hand and debts. The Center for Responsive Politics posted the totals for all House and Senate members yesterday. This map shows fundraising totals by state:

Here’s a per-capita version:

The interactive version lets you toggle views between fundraising, spending, debt and cash.

Coming soon to OpenSecrets.org: we’re adding information we’ve gathered on more than $70 million in new grants to politically active nonprofits and their affiliates. All of this information is linked up to FEC data for the exact periods covered by the IRS data.

What makes these updates so special?

Well, for one, we entered these 14,000+ records ourselves.
Also, this is the first time IRS data for dark money groups has been so closely matched to FEC spending by date.

This is a pretty big deal for anyone who cares about secret spending in U.S. elections and beyond.

Explore our Outside Spending section, learn more about how these “social welfare” groups operate so secretively, and get ready for this groundbreaking dark money data. 

A New Debate on Net Neutrality

It just might cost you more to watch “House of Cards.”
Since a federal court ruled last month that the Federal Communications Commission can no longer enforce its policy of network neutrality, Democratic lawmakers have been busy searching for a way to keep the rules in place through new legislation.

But with the telecommunications lobby’s history of fighting hard against earlier such bills, and the possibility that at least one technology company could change its tune on the subject, the current push will face a difficult slog.

Read more.

A Reading Guide on the Billionaire Koch Brothers

by Kim Barker and Theodoric Meyer

Today, ProPublica’s Kim Barker and Theodoric Meyer examine the Kochs’ network of “dark money” groups that spend money on politics and the role of Sean Noble, a former congressional aide, in shaping it. Read their investigation, or browse below for more of the best reporting on the Koch brothers.

Did we miss any? Leave a link in the comments or tweet us with #KochReads.

Covert Operations, The New Yorker, August 2010 Jane Mayer’s profile on the Koch brothers details the libertarian movement that they’ve built and the extent of their influence on politics. From funding climate change denial to opposition of the Obama administration’s policies, Mayer describes how the brothers’ political views “dovetail with [their] corporate interests.”

read more

http://dlvr.it/4y5yJh

Name

Minimum Net Worth

Average

Maximum Net Worth

Darrell Issa (R-Calif)

$195,400,035

$448,125,017

$700,850,000

Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

$258,618,051

$380,411,527

$502,205,003

Jane Harman (D-Calif)

$160,085,503

$326,844,751

$493,604,000

John Kerry (D-Mass)

$181,469,521

$231,722,794

$281,976,067

Mark Warner (D-Va)

$76,372,212

$192,730,605

$309,088,999

Herb Kohl (D-Wis)

$88,228,026

$173,538,010

$258,847,994

Jared Polis (D-Colo)

$57,944,127

$143,218,562

$228,492,998

Vernon Buchanan (R-Fla)

$-50,724,701

$136,152,641

$323,029,983

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif)

$5,946,075

$101,123,032

$196,299,990

Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa)

$61,632,019

$99,057,011

$136,482,003

Why should Americans care about the personal finances of their federal lawmakers? There are several key reasons:

  • Thousands of companies and special interests groups have business before Congress each year or lobby Congress directly. Some of these businesses may also find themselves the targets of congressional scrutiny for questionable business practices, accidents, even disasters. All the while, lawmakers themselves sometimes have stock holdings or other financial relationships with these corporations and associations, raising the specter of conflicts of interest.

  • About 1 percent of all Americans are millionaires. In Congress, that number regularly hovers between 40 percent and 50 percent, meaning elected leaders generally need not worry about the economic pressures many Americans face – from securing gainful employment to grappling with keeping a family financially afloat. Decide for yourself if these congressional millionaires are adequately representing your financial interests.

  • Congressional members’ personal wealth keeps expanding year after year, typically at rates well beyond inflation and any tax increases. The same cannot be said for most Americans. Are your representatives getting rich in Congress and, if so, how?

  • Personal financial disclosure reports tell you a lot, but not everything. For example, they’re only filed once every year, meaning the information contained may already be stale the day it’s made public. Likewise, lawmakers are only required to disclose their assets in broad ranges, meaning a truly accurate snapshot of a lawmaker’s wealth is difficult to ascertain. Legislation has been already put forward to improve disclosure. Contact your member of Congress and let your voice be heard if you don’t consider this level of disclosure adequate.

  • Further complicating matters: Members of Congress file their personal financial disclosure reports on paper, not by computer. This reduces their timeliness and makes analyzing the documents significantly more challenging than it would otherwise be. Ask your member of Congress to join the 21st century and demand, in the name of transparency, that these documents be filed electronically. In the meantime, support the Center’s work making this information more accessible.

From http://www.opensecrets.org/

The Money Against the Minimum Wage

The minimum wage debate is back on Capitol Hill, and the usual suspects — trade groups in industries that hire a lot of low-wage workers — are howling.

Nearly all of the trade groups on a letter attacking a proposed minimum wage increase have extensive Washington ties, pouring millions into congressional campaigns and spending more than $91 million on lobbying last year.

Read more.

Personal Financial Disclosure Analysis: What Took Us So Long?

Now that you know Congress is officially a millionaires’ club, you’re probably wondering: why did it take us so long to get personal financial information on Congress from 2012?Personal finances pioneer and CRP researcher Miriam Diemer explains.

Read more.

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Politics 101: Understanding PACs and Super PACs

The American political process is being heavily impacted by the creation of the Super PAC which in 2011 raised $96M. So what exactly is a PAC, a Super PAC and its other two hybrids and what should you the American voter know about its influence in the 2012 Presidential Election? Host, Herndon Davis of P.P.E, (Pop, Politics & Entertainment) explains.

At Least 1 in 4 Dark Money Dollars in 2012 Had Koch Links

We did the math, and it’s true.

With most of the annual tax filings for all nondisclosing nonprofits now in, it’s clear that no liberal or conservative dark money network matched, in combined size and complexity, the constellation of Koch-linked groups that churned hundreds of millions of dollars into elections around the country last year.

Read more.

Outside spending groups have already dropped millions on the 2014 Senate race in Kentucky (which is, of course, a little over a year away). Here’s the latest from the The Courier-Journal, citing our data on super PACs. Plus, we wrote about this race back in August

Nonprofit’s Exemption Was Granted Despite Record Fine, Political Spending

A dark money group had its “social welfare organization” nonprofit status approved by the IRS last year…despite its multiple campaign finance violations (including a record-breaking fine), massive amounts of political spending, and the fact that it has no volunteers or employees.

Read more.

Image: Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS division on exempt organizations, testifies at a House hearing in March 2014. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Koch Group’s IRS Report Unlocks a Few Mysteries

CRP’s Robert Maguire and Viveca Novak have unlocked the identities of some dark money recipients — and, using their IRS 990 form, shown how the previously unknown 501(c)(6) has burst on the scene as one of the 10 largest trade associations in the U.S.
Read more, and find out what’s REALLY unusual about this group.

As FCC chairman Tom Wheeler prepares to release his proposal for protecting an open Internet, check out his employment history - Wheeler has spun through Washington’s revolving door in a big way, spending years as a telecom lobbyist.

Learn more about Big Telecom’s Washington connections. 

Though midterm elections typically have see less campaign spending than presidential election cycles, the 2014 midterms are breaking records in at least one respect. Dark money spending is 4 times higher this cycle than it was at this point in any other cycle — even the 2012 cycle which shattered records, with more than $310 million in spending by groups that don’t disclose their donors. 

Koch Industries and Citizens United Back Dissidents

According to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis, the No. 1 source of contributions to the 20 “dissident” House Republicans is Citizens United’s PAC, which has given the dissidents a combined $86,000 in the first half of 2013.

Read the full story.