PRESS RELEASE: MAPLight.org 'Presidential Money Race Widget' Provides Unprecedented Real-Time Access To Federal Elections Commission (FEC) Data

Track FEC presidential fundraising data on your media site, blog or personal Web site

BERKELEY, CA, February 27, 2008 - MAPLight.org, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization illuminating the connection between money and politics, announces its recently updated MAPLight.org 'Presidential Money Race Widget' that allows you to track presidential campaign contributions on blogs, media sites, and personal Web sites and receive real-time updates moments after data is released by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

Presidential Money Race Widget

Presidential Money Race Widget

"We're making political fundraising more transparent," said *Daniel Newman, MAPLight.org's executive director. "With presidential candidates reporting their fundraising data to the FEC more frequently, and campaign financing now moving to center stage, MAPLight.org’s Presidential Money Race Widget keeps citizens, bloggers and members of the media informed with timely statistics in a compact, customizable form. The widget was designed to act as an information resource and a reminder of the sizeable role Money And Politics (MAP) plays in our presidential race."

The MAPLight Presidential Money Race Widget is funded by MAPLight.org's $25,000 first prize win at the NetSquared Innovation awards, a contest for the best nonprofit technology project worldwide, and by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, DC-based foundation dedicated to government transparency.

Adding a widget to a blog or Web site is as simple as sharing a YouTube video.

How Widgets Work:

Presidential candidates now release contribution data to the FEC each month. Once MAPLight.org computers receive this data directly from the FEC Web site, graphs and dollar amounts on thousands of widgets across the Web are immediately updated with the new data. MAPLight.org’s Presidential Money Race Widgets are customizable so you can change the colors to match media, blog and personal Web site style guide requirements. Inserting the MAPLight.org Presidential Money Race Widget into your site requires no programming and MAPLight.org has also made it easy for any Web developer to build their own site or software program that displays or shares this contribution data--even without using the widget--by publishing a direct link to MAPLight.org’s database called an API. Both services, the widgets and the API, are free and open source, so anyone can use or modify them as they see fit. To add a widget to your site simply visit Presidential Money Race Widget. For a technical assist email Sean Tanner, info_AT_maplight.org. Please note a Beta version of the Widget was released in August, 2007.

Other Widgets: 

MAPLight.org has also created a customizable Congressional Money Race widget for every candidate running for the House or Senate. To be notified when MAPLight.org releases more widgets, visit Widget Info Sign Up.

Who We Are: 

MAPLight.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization supporting government transparency, accountability, and reform; shining a light on our broken system of money-dominated politics.

What We Do: 

We track all campaign contributions given to members of Congress, and how every member of Congress votes on every bill, revealing connections between money and politics that were never before possible to see. Our concise graphs show correlations between money and votes, and timelines of contributions and votes showing specifics about when legislators received large donations before and after a vote.

Our Research Data:

MAPLight.org’s research department uses Web 2.0 data mashup technology to combine three data sets: campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org); special interest support and opposition for each bill in congress (MAPLight.org research team); and legislative voting records and bill information (GovTrack.us).

MAPLight.org reveals how contributions correlate with legislation, so that citizens have key information needed to draw their own conclusions about how campaign contributions affect policy. Campaign contributions are only one factor affecting legislator behavior and the correlations we highlight between industry and union giving, and legislative outcomes, does not show that one caused the other, and we do not make this claim. We do make the claim, however, that campaign contributions bias our legislative system. Simply put, candidates who take positions contrary to industry interests are unlikely to receive industry funds and thus have fewer resources for their election campaigns than those who vote in favor.

About MAPLight.org:

MAPLight.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Berkeley, California. Its search engine at MAPLight.org illuminates the connection between Money And Politics (MAP) via an unprecedented database of campaign contributions and legislative outcomes. Data sources include:  GovTrack.us; Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org); Federal Election Commission (FEC); and National Institute on Money in State Politics. Support and opposition data is obtained through testimony at public hearings, proprietary news databases and public statements on the websites of trade associations and other groups. To learn more visit MAPLight.org. If our work has been helpful to you, please consider supporting us.

Editors Note:

*MAPLight.org's Executive Director Daniel Newman will be in Washington, DC on March 4 speaking at the Politics Online Conference. His panel, titled eGov, begins at 2:15p. He will be available for one-on-one interviews before and after his panel discussion. Please call, 510.868.0894 if you would like to reserve an interview time. Also, screen shots, phone interviews, and technical assistance for embedding widgets is available.

Media contact:

Pamela Heisey 
Communications Director
Cell: 415.299.0898
Office: (510) 868-0894
pamela@maplight.org

Media Contact

Pamela Behrsin
Communications
Office: (510) 868-0894
pamela@maplight.org