Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.


Year-End Campaign Finance Reports

Yesterday, in addition to being the date of the Florida GOP primary, also was a major Federal Election Commission deadline for candidates and political action committees to submit their year-end financial disclosures. Candidates had last filed at the end of the third quarter. Possibly more interesting was what might be gleaned from superPAC disclosures: Most of the ones that we tracked were not particularly active as of the last superPAC filing deadline (mid-2011) — if they even existed — and this would be the first chance to really see the kind of money going their direction.

So, during lulls in election night coverage, I haunted the FEC website (and former Post colleague Derek Willis’s Twitter account) for new filings, adding data to this table as it came in:

2012 Money Race: Battling For The Bottom Line

2012 Money Race: Battling For The Bottom Line” (NPR, Feb. 1, 2012)

This table built on what we set up for third-quarter campaign disclosures, adding corresponding superPAC info for each candidate. I couldn’t necessarily add the candidate and superPAC totals together — legally, the two are independent and non-coordinating — but we did want to draw a visual connection between the two, grouping them together in the table.

My NPR colleagues Robert Benincasa and Peter Overby did an analysis of the various filings and, among other things, parsed out funds raised by the campaigns / superPACs by week. I fed those numbers into an interactive chart, built using the jQuery graphing library Flot. I set up this template a few months ago and have used it many times — including the third-quarter financial disclosures. This time, I modified it slightly so that when the user selects a candidate, the graph displays the weekly data for both that candidate and the superPAC that supports him.

Interactive: 2012 Campaign Cash, Week By Week

Important note about these graphs: We’re not able to graph small-donor contributions at the weekly level, as campaigns are required to itemize contribution info only for donors who have contributed over $200. So while these graphs may give an idea of the general trend of a candidate’s fundraising, they are not a complete picture.

2012 Campaign Cash, Week By Week” (NPR, Feb. 1, 2012)

NPR stories that have come out of this round of FEC disclosures so far: