MapLight.org shines light on intersection of donations and votes

A non-prof mashup of campaign contributions and California legislators' voting records.

It's not exactly news that interest group lobbying affects lawmaking, but MapLight.org is showing us how by doing the math down to dollar figures. The non-profit MapLight.org had one of the least ostentatious booths in the Web 2.0 Expo hall, but brought an incredibly informative, practical service regarding the influence of money on California politics.

MapLight.org

It's a mashup of voting records pulled from the Official California Legislative Information Web site (up to the 2003-2004 session right now, with 2005-2006 on the way), and campaign contributions kept by the Institute on Money in State Politics.

The database is searchable by legislator, interest group, bill number or subject. For example, clicking search by interest group and choosing the Communications and Electronics industry, brings up sub-interest groups, such as TV & Movie Production/Distribution. There you can see that lobbyists donated $1,146,614, and how it affected bills' passage or death. For instance, Jack Scott, D-Pasadena, received $27,142 and voted with that industry three out of four times, and Don Perata, D-East Bay, took $35,600 and voted in the industry's favor on two out of eight bills.

MapLight.org says it will eventually expand to include the voting records of the U.S. Congress, and says more interactive features are in store next month.

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About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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