Data source: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Our database includes campaign contributions given to each member of the 2009-2010, 2011-2012, and 2013-2014 Wisconsin State Legislatures since January 1, 1993. We include all contributions by donors giving $100 or more to one candidate in a given year.
Candidates and contributors periodically file campaign disclosure statements with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, as required by law. Our partner group, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC), obtains this data from the Government Accountability Board and "cleans it up" to make it more useful for analysis. WDC standardizes contributor names and categorizes each contribution according to the interest group of the donor. WDC provides this cleaned up data to MapLight about every three months.
Interest Group categories
WDC tags (categorizes) each contribution according to the industry of the donor, using a taxonomy of the 400-odd interests that give money to politics. For example, contributions from TDS Telecom and personal contributions from David Wittwer, President and CEO of TDS, are both tagged as "Telephone utilities". On our site we call these categories "interest groups" or "interests."
This interest-group categorization allows research on overall trends, such as patterns of contributions from oil interests. On the MapLight site you can view individual contributions—who gave what to whom, on what date—or you can view contributions aggregated by interest group.
These interest group categories make up a three-level hierarchy, with some interest groups being part of others. For example, the interest group category Lumber and wood products is part of the larger category Building Materials & Equipment, which is part of the still larger category Construction. This hierarchical system makes it possible to examine both specific industries and larger trends. (Browse the Interest Groups section of our site to see all the categories and how they fit together.)