Project Description: Our focus is on how campaign contributions change over time. We are looking at both long-term and near term changes. In particular we are building a pipeline for pulling down the latest FEC records on individual contributions, comparing the records to previous versions, highlighting the differences, and archiving the source FEC files. As Paul Jorgensen found, tracking revisions to records is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the data since in some cases the FEC has deleted millions of dollars worth of contributions. CampaignCon will help users to identify instances where revisions occur and how they impact campaigns. The team is also developing concepts for visualizing long-term changes in campaign finance.
Our country’s policies are the result of our legislators’ decisions, which are formed in response to a multitude of influences, many of which have no place in the political arena. Undue influences from campaign donors, lobbyists, and other private interests work to sway legislators from representing the true will of the people. Even the mostwell-intentioned representatives still lack a clear, comprehensive way of determining where their constituency's values lie. Unless these representatives have clear constituent polling results, they are often incentivized to vote along party lines or face losing valuable party funds in the next election.
On March 27–29, 2015, over 100 journalists, coders, artists, lawyers, physicists, designers, policy wonks, mathematicians and academics gathered at the MIT Media Lab to take part in Hacking iCorruption. Over the course to two days, participants worked alongside past and current Center for Ethics Fellows to develop the technological tools needed to help end institutional corruption.