Power Players: Pennsylvania's top political donors, 2011-2012

Ten wealthy Pennsylvanians, including a husband supporting his wife for political office and a gay man seeking equality, contributed nearly $9 million to their favorite candidates. PublicSource, working with the Investigative News Network, identified the 10 biggest campaign contributors in the state using state and federal campaign data.

Adopt a state

We want you to steal our platform.

Keeping with our goal to build tools that benefit not only us, but also the broader journalism and transparency community, we've built the underlying platform that powers this application to work in any state. Because we're relying on standardized data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which transforms data from multiple states into a single consistent format, we can just as easily deploy a copy of our Rainmaker app in Vermont, Idaho or Texas as we did in California – visualizations, badges and all.

If you're interested in adopting a copy of Rainmaker for your state, contact CIR's director of technology, Chase Davis, at cdavis@cironline.org. Getting up and running will require some non-technical work on your end, such as:

  • Cleaning up donation records: The system will produce a list of top donors in a given state, but sometimes, donation records have to be cleaned up by hand in order to detect outliers. We can show you how to do this, and we've built a simple interface into the system that makes it a bit easier.
  • Researching and writing biographies: If you want biographical information to appear for the donors in your state, you'll have to research it yourself. We have an interface that makes plugging it into the system easy, but the leg work is up to you.
  • Paying for hosting and domain costs: We host our apps on Heroku, which can either be free or not, depending on your traffic. We'll also need a domain at which to park the application.

If you're technically inclined, we also can help you modify the basic application to accommodate specific needs in your state. Adopting Rainmaker in your state is a great way to show the public some of the context behind your local political influence. Let us know if you'd like to take part!

Sources: Center for Responsive Politics, National Institute on Money in State Politics, Federal Elections Commission and Pennsylvania Department of State.

Credits:PublicSource would like to thank The Center for Investigative Reporting for the use of their political contributions app, Rainmaker. The Investigative News Network coordinated the work between the many organizations sharing information for this project. Reporters Halle Stockton, Emily DeMarco and Reid Fraizer also contributed to this project.