New toy

If you haven't visited already, by all means check out www.fundrace.org, the new website where you can get instant campaign contribution info by name, or even better, by location! They have national maps by party donations and really, really interesting maps for the top ten cities broken down by building. It is much faster and more interactive than the FEC website, where you can do the same thing, but you have to REALLY want it. The advantage of the FEC website, however, is that it goes back a few years and shows all federal elections, not just president. But it dosen't have the maps like Fundrace, and that is the real fun.

Things that I learned: (1) if you had any doubts in your mind, the Upper East Side is really, really Republican (although the biggest Dem contributor building in the city is at 770 Park, around the corner from my office), (2) there are way more Republicans in Chicago than I thought--this must have something to do with the growing asshole quotient I notice on my trips back there (3) Jennifer Garner gives a lot of money to the Democrats (perhaps this is why she is doing those CIA training videos).

Now, Fundrace can be used for evil, and may tell you things you didn't want to know. Mark Schmitt has an interesting appraisal of the effectiveness of contribution disclosure principles here. That said, it is still the best time I've had on the Internet in a good long while.

Bonus online prying tool...if you work in the nonprofit sector, and especially in the New York nonprofit sector, check out Guidestar.com. All nonprofits have public 501 (c) 3 records online here, which include the salaries of their top 5 executives. Ever wondered how much they pay the director of the Public Theatre? The Ford Foundation? Let's just say they're not doing so poorly compared to their corporate brethren and sisteren.


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