Ask the grumpies: Do you know anything about where your political donations go?

rose asks:

How is money raised by political campaign’s spent? Why does Congressperson in state A ask for donations for someone in State B? Are they buying power like corporate lobbyists? How can you tell if contribution money is going for family-hire-salaries or to pay off people who are claiming sexual assault/harassment? Why can a judge/congressperson pay off such claims with taxpayer money? How much of ‘Swing Left’ type organization’ money goes to overhead and how much to campaigns? How can a person judge which organization is the best impact for the dollar to contribute to? Are any organizations looking at this?

We really don’t know.  If it were a charity, you would have charitynavigator.  Back in the day there used to be a lot more regulations for things like PACs, but now the regulations are laughable.  Still, it turns out there is a nonprofit that tracks what is trackable if you know what to look for and how to analyze it.

Here’s the open secrets website from the Center for Responsive Politics.  You can search Swingleft within it and it will give you spreadsheets and stuff.  (Look, Paul Graham donated 250K)

There’s no ratings, but you can get the raw numbers.

Other than that, we have no idea.

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4 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Do you know anything about where your political donations go?”

  1. rose Says:

    Thank you so very much for this. Clearly this will be helpful and important in years to come and hopefully more and more investigative reporting will happen on this topic. Especially with current reports about other nations contributing money to inaugural events and political campaigns. I bookmarked the site to be able to spend more time reading articles on it.
    I have remained involved with Jen H’s Americans of Conscience Check List newsletter as well ~~~ having heard about it from you. I still write the thankyous and make the calls and do the letters.The next two years plus remain crucial for supporting freedom, equality, honesty and democratic beliefs.
    Blessings of the holiday seasons on you two and your readers and families. Wishes for a new year with peace, light, and hope for us all!

  2. Leah Says:

    This is a big reason I am extremely hesitant to donate politically. I made my very first donations this year and only to campaigns I knew would use the money wisely (all local).

  3. nicoleandmaggie Says:


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