1. Who Makes Money from Campaign Spending?


    ProPublica turns campaign spending on its head a bit with an interactive that lets Users track who’s making money off it. So, instead of looking at who’s donating to campaigns and Super PACs, they look at the top 200 recipients of campaign largesse.

    Topping the list, Mentzer Media Services. The former Swift Boat Veterans for Truth video producers have raked in a cool $25 million so far doing work for Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Restore our Future, a Super PAC that supports Mitt Romney.

    For the journogeeks, a ProPublica post explains the tech behind the interactive.

    To assemble the data, we used the New York Times’ Campaign Finance API to grab ID numbers for FEC filings. From there, we grabbed the filings thesmelves by passing each of the filing IDs to FECh, a handy Ruby gem also written by the Times. Then we filtered out ones marked as amendments or as quarterly, year-end or monthly aggregations.

    Using Google Refine, a tool for cleaning messy data, we clustered recipient organization names and merged ones that differed slightly; for example, we merged together payments marked “Google” and “Google Inc.” We then selected the top 200 recipients across all of the committees and campaigns we are tracking.

    The end result is a what’s known as a Sankey diagram that’s illustrated on the fly (primarily) with jQuery and Raphael.js, a JavaScript library for drawing vector graphics on Web pages.

    The interactive — A Tangled Web: Who’s Making Money from All This Campaign Spending?

    The nerdery — Untangling a Web of FEC Data.