Much attention is paid, and rightly so, to the enormous amounts of cash poured into political campaigns as contributions to candidates and through third-party groups that, in the estimation of state Senate President Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, have "hijacked” campaigns and made candidates “almost irrelevant."
As anyone with a television has probably figured out by now, Wisconsin’s recall elections are in full swing. The millions of dollars flowing into these contests, much from special interest groups, are being transformed into 30- and 60-second commercials, most of them negative.
Negative messages have been a feature of political campaigns since Oorg challenged Grok: “His fault fire die.” But the ads in the current recall elections are extraordinary for several reasons.
Read the details about our data sources and methodology. Data refers to direct contributions to the campaign committees of elected legislators. For example, contribution totals exclude contributions to party committees such as the RNC or the DNC and exclude contributions made to individuals that did not win their election.
For U.S. Congress, contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org) and legislative data provided by GovTrack.us.
California contributions data provided by the National Institute on Money in State Politics (FollowTheMoney.org).
Wisconsin contributions data provided by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (wisdc.org).