Monday, December 31, 2007

Election 2008: The Money Game (or, Who Owns My Candidate?)

It is common knowledge that private wealth rules our public elections. The contributions of wealthy individuals and large corporate donors dramatically skew the entire political system toward those interests over others. Mother Jones magazine posted the following series of pie charts to illustrate where each major presidential candidate has gotten their money (click any chart to enlarge):

Democratic Candidates:

Raised/Spent: $91m/$40m
• 63% of Clinton's donors have contributed the federal limit of $2,300.

Raised/Spent: $80m/$44m
• 26% of Obama's donors have given $200 or less. 47% gave more than $2,000.

Raised/Spent: $30m/$18m
• Edwards has raised $4.2 million from liberal fundraising group Act Blue, more than any other Democrat

Republican Candidates:

Raised/Spent: $2.3m/$1.6m
• An ordained Baptist minister, Huckabee has received $21,000 from clergy and religious organizations.

Raised/Spent: $63m/$54m
• Romney has put $17.4 million of his own money into his campaign—28% of its total funds.

Raised/Spent: $47m/$31m
• Giuliani has received more money from the tobacco, gambling, and oil and gas industries than any other candidate

Raised/Spent: $32m/$29m
• Is the top recipient of telecom money and the second-biggest recipient of lobbyist money (after Clinton)

Raised/Spent: $13m/$6m
• Thompson raised only $78,000 from his friends in showbiz; includes $2,300 from Law & Order producer Dick Wolf

A few more interesting charts (click any chart to enlarge):

If you want the full break-down on money and politics, visit the Center for Responsive Politics website. They are the single best resource for tracking the influence of private wealth on our public elections.

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