Many thanks to CorpseBoy, my old friend and chess nemesis from Ventura County for showing me OpenSecrets.org. It is a great web page that shows what we all know: money wins elections. Even more importantly, it shows where the money comes from (and, accordingly, who will want to have a say in policy). And to add to the unsurprise, many of our Democrat and Republican friends in Washington take PAC money from the people that want to receive the big bucks from the bailout.
I like this quote: "When policy-making resumes in Washington, citizens, activists and the media should vigilantly 'follow the money' to ensure that these representatives always remember that voters, not contributors, elected them."
Hopefully we all won't be so enamored by "The Change" (sounds like a M. Night Shyamalan film) that we get distracted from following the money.
Check it out: OpenSecrets.org
Here is one example of the articles they run...
Money Wins Presidency and 9 of 10 Congressional Races in Priciest U.S. Election Ever
Published by Communications on November 5, 2008 3:19 PM
WASHINGTON -- The historic election of 2008 re-confirmed one truism about American democracy: Money wins elections.
From the top of the ticket, where Barack Obama declined public financing for the first time since the system's creation and went on to amass a nearly two-to-one monetary advantage over John McCain, to congressional races throughout the nation, the candidate with the most money going into Election Day emerged victorious in nearly every contest.
In 93 percent of House of Representatives races and 94 percent of Senate races that had been decided by mid-day Nov. 5, the candidate who spent the most money ended up winning, according to a post-election analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The findings are based on candidates' spending through Oct. 15, as reported to the Federal Election Commission.
Continuing a trend seen election cycle after election cycle, the biggest spender was victorious in 397 of 426 decided House races and 30 of 32 settled Senate races. On Election Day 2006, top spenders won 94 percent of House races and 73 percent of Senate races. In 2004, 98 percent of House seats went to the biggest spender, as did 88 percent of Senate seats.
"The 2008 election will go down in U.S. history as an election of firsts, but this was far from the first time that money was overwhelmingly victorious on Election Day," Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said. "The best-funded candidates won nine out of 10 contests, and all but a few members of Congress will be returning to Washington."
Overall, 95 percent of House incumbents and 93 percent of senators won re-election on Tuesday. (This includes incumbents who lost their primaries but does not account for several other races featuring incumbents, such as the Minnesota Senate race, where a recount is pending in the contest between incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken.) In the prior 10 years and five election cycles, an average of 97 percent of House members and 86 percent of senators won re-election.
Average Pricetag for House Seat Exceeds $1 Million
The average cost of winning a House race in 2008 was nearly $1.1 million, based on pre-election finance reports, and almost $6.5 million for a Senate seat. Marcia Fudge, a Democrat running in Ohio's 11th District to succeed the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones, spent the least to win a House seat--just over $46,000 at last report. For the Senate, Wyoming Republican John Barrasso was the bargain-buyer, spending $1.4 million on his re-election.
Funds received and spent in the final days and hours of the 2008 campaign will not be reported to the FEC until Dec. 4, but as of Oct. 15, all congressional candidates who ran this cycle had spent almost $1.4 billion in the last two years. The Center has estimated the total cost of the 2008 elections for Congress and the White House at $5.3 billion, including candidates, national political parties and outside issue advocacy groups. That would make '08 the most expensive U.S. election ever.
"The politicians who were just elected potentially owe their campaign contributors billions of dollars for helping them win," Krumholz said. "When policy-making resumes in Washington, citizens, activists and the media should vigilantly 'follow the money' to ensure that these representatives always remember that voters, not contributors, elected them."
The national party committees reported spending more than $865 million--$440 million by Republicans through Oct. 15 and $424 million by Democrats. Issue advocacy groups--commonly called 527 committees--spent nearly $200 million to influence federal elections and issues, with liberal interests accounting for about 60 percent of that.