Mid-term elections in the United States are frequently contentious and competitive battles for control of the Senate and House of Representatives. The influence of money has always been controversial – who and where the money comes from, how and where the money is spent, who benefits from that spending – but the local nature of House races show very clearly the influence of funds to districts, candidates ,and races that are strategic to both parties.
While the cost of running these campaigns increases with each passing year, landmark decisions such as Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission decision in 2010 have accelerated independent spending by so-called “Super PACs” – with no reporting on who or where that money comes from.
Patterns in the funding show that senate races in Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Wisconsin and West Virginia were especially contentious – with more than $78 million in independent spending. House races in California, Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were likewise competitive seats, attracting more than $69 million in independent spending.
So how is money being spent by these Super PACs? Where are they directing these dollars? How are dollars being spent both for AND against candidates in these key districts and races? Thanks to open data from the Federal Elections Commission and the power of Splunk, now you can investigate.
Modifying the filters below affect both charts. "D" = direct donations and "I" = indirect donations.
Shows up to the top 30 candidates. "H" = House and "S" = Senate.
Shows up to the top 30 committees and 10 candidates. "H" = House and "S" = Senate.
The Federal Elections Commission has for many years made data available on the funding of presidential elections in the United States. Data is readily available on the FEC website on who, what, and from where direct contributions are coming into candidates. You can ask questions, search names, and even look at this all on pretty maps. What is harder to find, however, is accessible information on Super-PACs. And that’s where Splunk comes in.
We have linked up to the latest FEC reports directly via the OpenFEC API, where we get access to the latest contributions and spending data as soon as the data is updated. Ingesting into Splunk is easy and anyone can visualize the data themselves. Splunk has a number of out-of-the-box visualizations available, or you can design your own in d3 or other visualization libraries. The visualization displayed above is called "Halo" and is built using d3.js, and is be available for use in Splunk at Splunkbase.