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Methodology for Determining Data in Tables
Explanation of Adjustments in Data
Unadjusted numbers would not provide an apples-to-apples comparison of the amount of money contributed to members who were in office for different numbers of years over the time period studied. Contribution amounts in the tables in this study were therefore adjusted to allow a comparison of members who served less than the full time period of the study (2000 to 2006) with those who were officeholders for the full period.
Certain figures were also adjusted, as noted, to account for the increase in contributions that occurred in 2004 following enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which doubled the maximum allowable contribution to campaign committees. This second adjustment was similarly needed to ensure fairness in comparing contributions to some senators who last ran for office in 2002 (before the contribution limits were doubled) to contributions to members who ran in 2004, after the doubling of the contribution limits occurred.
Each member of the House and the Senate was ranked, by chamber, in the following categories: campaign contributions from lobbyists, contributions from individuals who live out of state, contributions from small donors, and contribution from political action committees (PACs). Members of the House and Senate were ranked separately due to their different term lengths and fundraising timelines. The overall ranking was calculated by averaging the rankings for each member in all four categories. The members were then ranked by that average. Members of the House were ranked from 1 to 433, with 1 indicating the greatest ties to special interests and 433 the least. Senators were ranked from 1 to 90. Ten Senators who were not in office long enough to be ranked in all categories were omitted from the overall rankings.
Rankings for the categories were derived from the adjusted figures and were designed to showcase connections between a member of Congress and special interests, with rankings closer to 1 indicating correspondingly ties to special interests. In every category except contributions from small donors, House and Senate members who received more money (adjusted) per election cycle were ranked higher than those members who received less money. The member who received the highest amount in a category was ranked No. 1. This measurement allowed for an apples-to-apples comparison of members, accounting for different numbers of terms served.
Rankings for the category campaign contributions from lobbyists excluded 10 members of the Senate, also omitted from the overall ranking, as lobbying contributions data were not available to us for those members for the time-period studied.
Contributions from small donors were ranked so that the member who receive the lowest percentages in this category received the highest ranking, e.g. No. 1. The percentage of contributions members receive from small donors shows how much they put into reaching out to their constituents instead of wealthy special interests.
K Street Cash: Contributions from Lobbyists
These tables detail the amount of campaign contributions received by current members of the state’s congressional delegation from lobbyists and their families from the start of the 2000 election cycle through the end of 2005. The table includes only contributions made to incumbents, meaning that if a current member was elected for the first time during the period studied, contributions made during his or her initial campaign are not included. The information is based on data obtained from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). To account for members having served for different lengths of time, data are provided on a per election cycle basis. Each election of a member of the House counts as one election cycle. Each election of a member of the Senate counts as three election cycles. Per-cycle figures are adjusted to correct for an increase in campaign contributions with each passing cycle, including a marked jump that occurred following enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which doubled the maximum allowable contribution to campaign committees.
PAC-Men and PAC-Women
These tables detail the amount of campaign contributions received from political action committees from the beginning of the 2000 election cycle in January 1999 through
On Tour: Contributions from Individuals Who Live Out of State
These tables detail the amount of campaign contributions over $200 received by members of Congress from individuals who do not live in the state that a member represents. Calculations in this table do not include contributions from PACs or contributions from individuals who gave $200 or less (the cutoff point for disclosure of itemized contributions to the Federal Election Commission). The table covers contributions made from the start of the 2000 election cycle in January 1999 through
Fat Cats or Passing the Hat? Contributions of $200 or Less
These tables enumerate campaign contributions of $200 or less given by individuals, from the start of the 2000 election cycle in January 1999 to
Teeing Off: Acceptance of Privately Funded Travel and Related Expenses
These data, obtained from the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), enumerate the amount of privately-funded travel and related expenditures reported by each current member of each state’s congressional delegation from January 2000 through June 2005. To account for members having varying numbers of years of service since January 2000, a column – Privately Funded Travel (with years of service multiplier) – was created. It extrapolates the value of each member’s travel to 5.5 years, the length of the study.
CPI noted the sheer number of “misfiled, misreported and mystifying travel disclosures” in its original analysis of Congressional travel. Documents filed by members are often illegible or incomplete, and some may have been lost. The result is a level of imprecision in figures derived from the documents, which is why this chart provides travel amounts only in increments of $10,000. On top of the exhaustive review conducted by CPI, we also independently reviewed the travel forms of the members in our study and compared the totals against CPI’s database. In cases where the reported figures were uncertain, the lowest apparent total was assigned. The figures therefore should be viewed as a guidepost to the amount of travel members accepted, rather than as absolute indicators.
Travel data for members other than those in the initial 10-state roll-out were not compiled, since the imprecision of the data precluded using it to rank members.