CEO contributions in the 2008 Presidential Race
February 19, 2009 11:30 AM   Subscribe

CEO contributions in the 2008 Presidential Race
I went and mapped each of the Fortune 1000 CEO's contributions to the 2008 presidential candidates. You can view the data by by CEO, by Candidate, or by Industry.

For the curious, I used Django and the NYTimes apis; my source code is here. Let me know if I could be doing anything better/smarter it's my first go around with Django.
posted by Jeff_Larson (7 comments total)

Fantastic project, I love the integration.
posted by mathowie at 11:32 AM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

One quick question, I click on Omaha (since it's closest to me). I got this result:

Hillary Clinton $-2300 August 28th, 2008

My question, how can you have a negative donation?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:40 AM on February 19, 2009

Yeah, campaign records are frustrating, especially when all I have to search for is first name and last name of each. Basically, each person in this country can only donate a maximum of $2300 to a particular candidate, if they go overboard they're supposed to get a refund of the matching amount. Trouble is with typos being what they are searching for first name and last name is rough the campaigns, would probably track via credit card or Bank Account #.

For example say I donated $4300 to Obama, on 2 seperate occasions one, under the name "Fejj Blarson", and the CC# 122121 the campaign would sort out that I'm actually "Jeff Larson" and send a refund check my way. Trouble is the donation record now reads

Fejj Blarson $4300
Jeff Larson $-2300

and so when I search for Jeff Larson in public records, all I get is $-2300, I'm going to mask out CEOs whose total donations are less than $0 soon, but for now, word to the wise. Also, if you find mistakes on individual ceo pages, you can flage bad donations by clicking on the "edit this ceo" link.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 12:15 PM on February 19, 2009

That makes sense now. Kind of weird though, since you'd think the people donating that much cash would know the limits.

I've never given more than $50 to any candidate, and from my google alerts have never shown up in any of these databases.

The site is visually pleasing as well.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:07 PM on February 19, 2009

Thanks, from what little research I've done I think there's a lower limit to the funds that are disclosed. It might be that your donations are below that limit. This data also obviously doesn't include the $20,000 a plate fundraising dinners or what have you. I think in those instances the donation goes to "The Committee to Reelect x" or something.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 2:30 PM on February 19, 2009

What's interesting is that it's not very much money. All but one of the industries contributed less than $50,000. in my quick scan.
posted by Pants! at 1:12 PM on February 20, 2009

Yeah, I was surprised about that too. Especially given how much play it gets in the media. I think obama raised $400 million in the campaign, and his total donations from ceos less was around $100 grand, which was less than .03% of his total donations. $100 grand's not anything to sneeze at but it's hardly was game changer.

I think it get's so much play b/c this data is freely available, and to tell the truth what i've done is even easier if you have a full feed b/c you can search for anyone with CEO as their occupation. I wanted to limit it to just the 'best companies' though. And, because I was using the times apis, my searche fields were pretty limited. But, hey, I've had fun!
posted by Jeff_Larson at 1:49 PM on February 20, 2009

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