Billionaires’ favorite politicians

Jon Bruner for Forbes reports on billionaire contributions to politicians over the past four years:

The billionaires on the Forbes 400 list have given more than $30 million to politicians and political action committees since 2006, along with millions more in soft money to politically active groups. Although Forbes 400 members give about 15% more money to Republicans than Democrats, they fund groups across the political spectrum.

On the top are the billionaires, sized by the amount of donations, and on the bottom are the politicians, sized by amount of contributions received. Click on either or use the drop down menus to see the connections.

It lacks some polish, and I’m not totally sure what measurements are used for vertical and horizontal placement, but worth clicking around.

[Thanks, @JonBruner]


  • Thanks for the link, Nathan.

    I can explain a bit about the measurement for horizontal placement: in the case of billionaires, it’s the ratio of money given to Democrats to money given to Republicans. If you contribute more to Democrats to Republicans, your circle is left of the centerline; more to Republicans, it’s to the right of the centerline. Those clusters along the left and right edges are billionaires who give exclusively to one party. (Non-aligned PACs are neutral for the purposes of computing this left/right score, even in cases like American Crossroads where there’s an undoubted political leaning; we just stuck with the technical definitions here.) There are a handful of donors in the dead center, like Steve Ballmer, who seem to go out of their way to contribute equal amounts to the two parties, and their donation patterns (i.e., contributions to both the Republican and Democratic congressional campaign committees) suggest that their political involvement is a business matter, not an ideological one.

    Politicians’ partisanship scores are averages of their donors’ scores, weighted by donations. (And politicians’ circles are colored according to party–red = Republican; blue = Democratic; yellow = other.) Politicians generally appear where you’d expect them to; Joe Lieberman is pretty much on the centerline; Texan Democrats (like Chet Edwards and Henry Cuellar) are to the right of their colleagues; Coastal Republicans (like Dave Reichert and Jim Saxton) are to the left of theirs.

    Vertical placement is random, I’m afraid. I just needed a way to separate the circles enough for the graphic to be readable.