February 3, 2008

Money talks

Fundrace 2008 is an excellent example of harnessing the data processing and database power of computers with the mass distribution capabilities of the interwebs to allow personal access to data according to user provided filtering criteria with results displayed both textually and graphically.

In plain english, it's a cool web site for finding out who gave what to whom in the 2008 presidential contest by location and occupation of the donor. It allows you to search according to zip code, or town. You can also search by other criteria such as employer and see the results displayed on a map which you can then drag and zoom.

They provide the ability to search the results by listed occupation. For instance a look at donations by those listing their title as CEO shows that they're putting their eggs in the Democratic basket this go'round.

There are several sites that provide campaign finance data, Open Secrets being perhaps the most preeminent. Fundrace is offered as a service by Huffington Post.

A quick look around shows that according to the site, local donations break down as follows:

$17,588 was given by people who identified their city as "Moline".
$4,617 to Republicans, $12,971 to Democrats

$4,037 was given by people who identified their city as "East Moline".
That entire figure went to Democrats... not a dime for the poor Republicans.

$18,340 was given by people who identified their city as "Rock Island".
$5,141 to Republicans, $13,199 to Democrats

On the Iowa side, things look better for the Repubs...

$24,606 was given by people who identified their city as "Bettendorf".
$18,501 to Republicans, $6,105 to Democrats

$59,775 was given by people who identified their city as "Davenport".
$33,869 to Republicans, $25,906 to Democrats

The site offers a graphical map which displays donations by address, with larger dots representing larger amounts, and the dots denoted by red for Republican and blue, Democrat. The red dots denoting the larger Republican donations conincide neatly with the most expensive and exclusive neighborhoods in the area.

Some notable contributions:

In the outlying areas, a rural Colona woman gave $2,300 dollars to Sam Brownback. (money well spent) and two people from Port Byron each gave Obama $1000.

Romney picked up some hefty donation dollars of one of the owners of Stern Beverage and former Deere CEO Hans Becherer.

Johnny Lujack, retired NFL star and auto dealership owner put his money on Rudy, kicking in a couple grand.

A Davenport couple demonstrated their support of McCain to the tune of $9,200.

A Rock Island attorney gave $4,600 in support of John Edwards.

Three employees of one Davenport firm kicked in a total of $4,931 to Ron Paul. There are many smaller donations to Paul, who shows a lot of support around the area. (FYI: Ron Paul received more donations than Romney and McCain COMBINED this last reporting period, thus showing how out of step the two front-runners truly are on the war in particular, even among Republicans.)

Unfortunately, no information was provided at Fundrace telling exactly what the criteria was to be listed. There are relatively few donors listed, and there are surely many more who've donated to a campaign.

The explanation for this appears to be that they only list those who donated above a certain amount, which appears to be $200 or above. Smaller donors apparently don't get into the database. It still seems to list an unusually small number of donors, but maybe there just aren't that many at this point.

Go nose around Fundrace 2008. It's interesting.


At 2/03/2008 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting information - thank you.

Interesting, that in Illinois, the part of the QC-area that has poor job creation, poor growth and little economic development, the money goes to Democrats.

In Iowa, the part of the QC-area that has growth, both residential and commercial growth, job creation and new construction (where there is actually positive action), the money is on the Republicans.

I am sure that this would tell an intelligent, objective person something...

At 2/04/2008 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must have been a technical glitch, as my comment was not posted...

Interesting how the Illinois side of the QC-area donates to the Dem's - and the area is stagnant (at best),

while the Iowa-side has growth, residential and commercial (their I-74 corridor is a BOOM) and donates to the Republicans.

Interesting. What does this tell you?

At 2/04/2008 11:02 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Well, anon 11:18, it does.

It might indicate to them that in areas where things are going ok and there's no sense of urgency that people can afford to risk voting Republican. People who've already tend to want to slam the door behind them,taking all that government has provided to enable them to prosper but, with greed and selfishness encouraged by right wing propaganda, have been conned into feeling that they should deeply resent the idea that they should give so much as a dime back, and God forbid it would go towards helping a.... ew!... poor person.
Poor people and minorities are the enemy. White middle class folks such as themselves are the ideal. They'd rather spend $500 buying gas for their Hummer (which they get a tax break from buying) than help feed the kids of a single mom who might be... shudder... black.

They got theirs, screw the rest.

Whereas in areas where people are really feeling the effects of the nationwide depression in the economy and suffering from the nationwide loss of manufacturing jobs and are trying their best to get by in low-paying jobs and getting squeezed nearly out of existence, they look to someone who will look out for their interests, not simply build more hotels for them to clean or erect more Wal-marts for them to work at or more upscale malls that they can't afford, and choose Dems.

Not that complicated really.

Also, the reason your comments did not appear immediately is not due to a technical glitch. I'd refer you to the explanation in yellow type at the head of the sidebar.

At 2/04/2008 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting theory Dope, however, Illinois was doing extremely well when the Republicana were in charge (if you recall, RICO was staunchly 'R' before Railsback screwed it up by having an affair!). Prior to that time, people could not even envision Dem's gaining a foothold.

Then it all changed, Evans won when he was just running as the 'shill of the day' - as railsback lost in the Primary.

The Illinois QC has gone to hell-in-a-handbasket 100% on the Dem's watch.

During this the same time, the Iowa QC-area has taken advantage and grown dramatically.

You really would have a hard-time explaining this away and remaining reasonable.

Nice try though! (So, will your 'descretion' continue to censor issues that make you and your positions/ beliefs look foolish?).

At 2/05/2008 6:33 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

QCE, we've heard your theory on this several times. It's interesting, but I don't think any honest appraisal of the economics of the area would go so far as to try to blame the demise of the agricultural equipment industry on Lane Evans, try to blame the military base cut-backs on Evans, and try to blame globalization and it's negative economic effects on manufacturing across the country on... Lane Evans.

Seriously, you've got a thing for Evans, you put it on display at every opportunity, you hold him personally responsible for so many things beyond any one person's control that it's almost bizarre.

But that's ok I guess. To each her own.

You conveniently ignore the fact that the Illinois side had vastly more manufacturing jobs and that those jobs have vanished and are continuing to vanish at a rapid rate nationwide. (something like a quarter million manufacturing jobs were lost just last year alone)

You can imagine what you want. I imagine it's simply because Bettendorf is a lily white bedroom community and they're in just as precarious of financial shape as anyone... one health emergency away from collapse, etc.

But they did OK while Republicans were in office and they've botught the idea that not paying taxes while borroring trillions from China etc., while gutting social programs for the poor, and being told that they don't owe any of those people (poor, minority, needy) a dime appeals to their worst natures and fits in nicely with the Republican world-view.

They simply feel that the ruinous policies of Republicans are in their best interest.

The people on the Illinois side have felt the disasterous effects of globalization and trickle-down economics for decades. There's not a lot that can be done when corporate interests are allowed to dominate nearly every aspect of the government.

But they know that at the very least, no matter if he magically changed things or not, Lane Evans was anything but a bought-off politician who worked for corporate paymasters to the exclusion of ordinary people.

They don't prefer voting for right wingers who hold often farcical ideological ideas about who sleeps with whom and is all in favor of destroying government services completely or farming them out to corrupt corporations, feels that there should be no taxation at all, and that the rich are somehow morally superior to all and deserve special breaks. And they believe we should entrust the health and well-being of the middle class and poor entirely on the crumbs that these millionairs and billionaires might allow to "trickle down".

At 2/05/2008 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The loss of jobs at the RIA is most definately a Lane Evans issue - not 100%, but he has a serious role in the downturn. Our Representative voted AGAINST every single spending bill having to do with Defense. If you think that this adds jobs to the RIA, you are crazier than I think! And when it is time to reorganize, you don't think that there was 'payback' to a Representative like Evans? (Of course there is).

Is the drawback of manufacturing jobs and the farm-impliment business the fault of Lane Evans and the Democrats? Of course not.
However, the job of our political leaders is to REACT TO ISSUES and LEAD THROUGH PROBLEMS.

The simple fact is that, the State of Illinois (run by Democrats), the Illinois Quad-Cities area (run by Democrats), the Representatives and Senators (Democrats) - and the local political leaders (all Democrats) have not assisted the area in ADJUSTING TO CHANGE and seeing the reality of the new-economy and leading the community through change.

Come on Dope, liberals believe that the government needs to be in charge of everytthing - and here is a case where they dropped the ball.

Leadership at all levels was done better in Iowa and the Iowa QC-area.

BTW - not qce.

At 2/05/2008 8:33 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

not qce,
Oh right. The independent base closure commission keeps a grudge list. Sure.......


So you'd have any local rep just continue to write blank checks to the defense department as a means of holding onto some local jobs?

I think that's incredibly reckless, especially in light of the fact that simply OKing every defense spending bill that comes down the pike does IN NO WAY guarantee that so much of a dime of that money would ever show up at the RIA.

Let's be honest.

So sqander millions and billions on defense in the tinkerbell hope that it will somehow trickle down and save the arsenal?

It was only through herculean effort that the Arsenal even survived the base closures! It's been slated for closure for decades now, and it's only by the efforts of Durbin and Evans and others that it's even survived the chopping block.

The attempt to saddle Evans with some sort of blame that the Aresenal isn't going great guns (no pun intended) is really scraping the bottom of the barrel in my estimation.

t is perfectly legitimate to fault Democratic leaders for failing to find some magic wand to revive the economy and "restructure" or somehow get it to turn the corner from it's manufacturing based past.

But reality sometimes just doesn't cooperate. The area thrived from manufacturing due to it's proximity to the river at first, then it's central location and connections to rail and interstate transportation. It also had a huge labor base established.

But those assets don't translate into an era where all we produce are service jobs and war machinery.

Sure, maybe Boeing could have picked Rock Island instead of Chicago.... but you get my drift.

We're planted firmly in the rust belt. The entire upper mid-west is suffering and in the same boat. No communities are shining examples of booming and thriving economies.

It's all in the sun belt now.

I guess I'm saying that it's a politician's job to try to bolster an area's economy and work to attract businesses and jobs, but sometimes there's just not a hell of a lot to work with.

At 2/05/2008 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, so let's go back to the beggining - why is Davenport and Bettendorf doing so well, when RI-Moline and East Moline are not?

This blog indicates that the Iowa QC-area is strongly Republican - and the Illinois QC-area is strongly Democrat.

Does this have nothing to do with it?

Does leadership mean nothing?

Maybe its the water?

At 2/05/2008 6:09 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

anon 1:39

First of all, "this blog" didn't indicate that the Iowa QCs is strongly Republican.... I merely passed along data on contributions over $200 which showed that there was more money donated to Republican candidates on the Iowa side, and more donated to Dem candidates on the IL side.

You can surmise that indicates that IA leans right and IL left, and that's probably true, but it's surely not enough to suggest that IA is "strongly" anything. This is just donors, not voters.

And I'll let you play the game of trying to draw some sort of conclusions about a relationship between economic conditions being linked to the party affiliation of elected officials. I've already stated my view.


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