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April 12, 2004
Follow the (Political) Money - Use the Web
WIRED has a very interesting article on the various websites that make it easier to track campaign finance in the political system (Following the Money Made Easier). A number of the best websites are cited, such as Fundrace, Political Money Line, and my favorite, Open Secrets.
Worrisome Privacy Issues
Increased transparency in funding is all to the good (especially for larger donors), but I feel a little strange being able to know which of my neighbors have given $100 to Bush or Edwards (no local Kerry fans, apparently). How long will this data be held? Will these websites discourage people from donating to candidates not favored by their neighbors? What effect will this have on our politics?
More Efficient Tracking Desired
Of course, I would love for these websites to become even more efficient. What about email alerts and RSS feeds? You could subscribe to a candidate feed and be notified when they have new donations above a certain limit. You could have geographic feeds and industry feeds. You could track particular donors, especially industries, across a variety of candidates. Bloggers could make excellent use of such feeds.
Fix the Problem of Money in Politics
We really need to reduce the importance of money in politics (it'll never go away entirely). The more we undermine mass media, the better I think. A vast amount of political money is spent on television advertising, if we can change that paradigm with something like broadcatching we would be better off.
Bonus IP issue: The logo for Fundrace is highly reminiscent of Nascar's.
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