Follow the Oil Money

Did you know that George W. Bush received $2,649,725 in oil contributions is his 2004 election campaign? Or that in 2008 Rudy Giuliani received $659,158, John McCain received $291,685 and that Barack Obama received $163,840? These and other bits of political trivia and insight come from a useful site that was recently Mashup of the Day: Follow Oil Money. The very well done and enlightening service is subtitled "tracking petroleum industry campaign contributions." It draws from over 8,000 contributions from 6000 companies to deliver a rich set of tools for searching and visualizing where the money comes from and who it goes to.

As co-creators Greg Michalec and Skye Bender-deMoll describe:

We've created a map of the political campaign contributions from companies in the oil & gas industries to politicians who are candidates for federal office. This is a relationship map of the contribution network. That means that unlike a physical map, where points are positioned at a geographic location, the icons for the companies and candidates are placed so that they are that they are as close as possible to whomever they contribute to or receive contributions from.

Another way to imagine it is like a molecule: the companies and candidates are like atoms, and the contributions are like atomic bonds. Or, one can think of it like the popular websites Facebook or MySpace, in which companies and politicians have become 'friends' by giving money.

Data comes from a variety of sources including the Sunlight Labs API, the Democracy In Action API, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Center for Responsive Politics, and Skye provides more background on his blog.

The developers even let you know what tools they used to build it: MySQL, PHP, Graphviz, and the and TableKit ajax libraries.

For more on government-related APIs, mashups, and news (like Tracking Money and Politics), check the Government API and Mashup Dashboard.

Be sure to read the next Government article: Semantic Search the US Library of Congress


Comments (2)

The graphic of oil companies paths all leading to President George Bush in the center shows more than words can say.

It is time for the U.S. to find alternative sources for crude oil. And to start utilizing sources located right here in the United States.

why wouldn't big oil support Republicans more? they are the only party that does not hate them! They are the only party that possibly might allow for more drilling in the US instead of forcing them to buy oil from the middle east and other nations! They are the only party that might allow them to build more refineries so that they can refine more gas without having to get that from overseas as well (by the way, we are now importing 12% of all our refined gasoline). They are the only party that does not harp on their making a profit (like Google, Apple, etc... does).

I certainly do not really care if oil companies survive or not, so I am all for finding alternative energy like nuclear energy (which the left also apposes in the US) and if the oil companies don't do it and someone else does, more power to that someone else!

But please do us all a favor and stop insinuating that the efforts to limit the ability of the Oil companies to supply oil and refine gas does not have a dramatic affect on gas prices (especially as China and India have now become heavy consumers of oil).

I work in pricing rentals in the Multi-Family housing industry and I can tell you one thing for a fact, if you restrict supply of rental housing in any of our markets while demand is high we will drive rents through the roof until people no longer rent units from us. But in markets that allow for supply to keep up with demand we have a tough time raising rents because we have to compete harder, simple supply and demand.

I wish they would take this a step further like showing where all politicians get their money, not just those who get money from oil companies, like lawyers who fund the Dems more because they are more likely to pass more regulations and laws which will directly benefit them. The more complex laws and regulations are passed, the greater demand is for lawyers and we all now how cheap their services are!

Oh, and one more fact that you might find interesting, oil companies make about .20 per gallon in profits and they are the producers of it while local, state and the federal government get around .45 per gallon in taxes (and what do they do, make it harder for oil companies to get the oil!).

How come no one is screaming about the killing the government makes of of oil when they do not produce even a drop of oil