Friday, October 23, 2009

Money and Politics

OK... I feel guilty with that title. No, this does not have anything to do with the current local news. Got your attention though.

There used to be a site on Pennsylvania's web site that you could ftp down the entire campaign finance database.  I can't find it anymore. If anyone still thinks it exists let us know.  To test my ever atrophying programming skills I scraped most of it via the interactive search the state has left online.  From that I pulled the campaign finance reports for the state legislature.  I have taken the last reported cash on hand to make the illustration below which shows the campaign cash on hand for the incumbents in the state senate.

They are not all from the same date since some candidates last reported the state of their campaign accounts with their annual report for 2008.  Not all have needed to file reports in 2009.  I took whatever report is the last files and then made this visualization via the IBM's Manyeyes site.

The image below .  There is also an interactive version online that is useful as well.  The data and references to which reports the individual data points come from is there as well. Maybe over the weekend I will do the same for the state house which is just a mess because there are so many more of them.


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