Digging into MAPLight.org’s Bill Endorsement Data

Diagram of bill supportersDan Newman, director of the money in politics watchdog/transparency site MAPLight.org kindly shared some of their bill endorsement data for me to explore. In addition to providing an elegant interface for accessing California and U.S. Federal campaign contribution data and voting records, MAPLight’s interns do extensive research to determine various organizations positions on bills that are being voted on in Congress. These endorsement and opposition relationships can be thought of as ties linking the organizations to the various bills they take a position on. The ties can then be assembled to form—yup, you guessed it—networks of bills and their supporters. My hope is that giving the bill data a relational treatment might reveal some of the coalitions and give additional context for each organization’s position.
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San Francisco Political Contributions

Closeup of SF 2008 political contribution networkI’m very interested in trying to figure out ways to map the political landscapes and power structures that are operating around us. I’d like to be able to see various organizations and political actors in the context of their allies, enemies, and supporters in order to understand where the political boundaries are between various factions.
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