I’m sitting in a worksh0p in New Orleans, learning about the latest resources and strategies for covering the influence of money on politics — part of our effort to get ready for next year’s elections.
One of the really cool on-line tools out there is followthemoney.org, a site that offers really accessible data about politicians, donors, lobbyists and how they all work together to shape the legislation and policies that we all live with.
Sounds dry, but buried in the data are interesting nuggets that tell us a lot about our government.
One example is the fact that five of state Senator Betty Little’s top 20 donors — including the two biggest — are labor unions.
Public employee unions representing corrections officers and healthcare workers are the Republican lawmakers two biggest donors. Interesting, right?
This isn’t “gotcha” stuff. But the money trail definitely matters and it often complicates the Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal picture that shapes a lot of elections.
More to come as we get deeper into the 2012 campaign…