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MAPLight

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MAPLight.org is a non-profit, non-partisan web project of TakeBackCA.org, a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It uses a public database to "[illuminate] the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws... MAPLight.org makes money/vote connections transparent, to help citizens hold their legislators accountable." [1]

Database

MAPLight.org combines three data sets:

MAPLight combines the data to make visual connections between:

  • Contributions given by interests supporting and opposing each bill
  • Average donations given to legislators voting “Yes” and “No” on each bill
  • Timeline of contributions and votes for each bill, graphically identifying when legislators received large donations before or after their vote. [3]

MAPLight uses a system of 400 interest categories, ranging from Accident Insurance to Wine Manufacturing, matching the system used by the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics to categorize campaign contributions. [4]

U.S. Congress database

Data sources:

  • Legislative data: From the Library of Congress THOMAS website through GovTrack.us. Updated daily.
  • Campaign contribution data: From the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org). Updated about a month after its release by the Federal Election Commission.
  • Support and opposition for bills: Determined by MAPLight paid researchers from "1. Testimony at public hearings; 2. Proprietary news databases; 3. Public statements on the websites of trade associations and other groups... We assign interests for all organizations and industries." [5]

California database

Data sources:

  • Legislative data: From the official Legislative Council of California website www.leginfo.ca.gov . As of September 2008 the legislative data was for the 2003-2004 legislative session. MAPLight says that "by Fall 2007 we will finish coding the 2005-2006 legislative session and soon after will have California data updated daily."
  • State campaign contributions: From the National Institute on Money in State Politics. MAPLight says "we currently publish California campaign contributions from 2001 through 2004 with further up-to-date data coming by the end of 2007."
  • Support and opposition for bills: "Our lists of support and opposition organizations come from bill analyses prepared by the California Legislature. As a bill moves through the legislature and is referred to legislative committees, staff of these committees will write bill analyses that include lists of supporters and opponents. MAPLight.org researchers then assign interests to represent the supporting and opposing organizations... For California we assign interests to all organizations and industries who are centrally related to the purpose of the bill. " [6]

Board and staff

Board

  • Jaleh Bisharat: Co-Founder and Co-Chair "serves on the Board of Directors of Homestead Inc. and OpenTable Inc. and is OpenTable’s Vice President of Marketing. Previously, Jaleh served as Vice President of marketing for Amazon.com, the world’s leading online retailer. At Amazon.com she oversaw customer acquisition and retention, brand marketing, public relations, market intelligence and the customer experience group. Previously, Jaleh held executive positions at PointCast, Approach Software and Lotus Development Corporation. In 1999, Jaleh was named as one of Advertising Age 's Power 50 marketing executives. She holds an AB in Government from Harvard-Radcliffe and an MBA from Harvard Business School." [7]
  • Thomas Layton: Co-Founder and Co-Chair, "is CEO of OpenTable in San Francisco. Previously he was a co-founder of CitySearch, Inc. which later merged with Ticketmaster to become Ticketmaster Online – CitySearch (TMCS), now a subsidiary of InterActive Corp. In his role as President and COO at TMCS he helped grow that organization to become the leading online local content property, serving more than 128 cities worldwide. Thomas holds an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and a BS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute." [8]
  • Steven Addis: Board Member, "is the CEO of Addis Group, a prominent brand strategy and design firm. After beginning his career as a professional photographer, Steven entered brand management at The Clorox Company where he led the new products group. In 1987, Steven left Clorox to create a new breed of branding firm – the first of its kind to truly blend excellence in brand strategy and brand expression. Realizing this vision, Addis combines senior managers taken from the country’s top marketing companies with world-class designers and copywriters. Clients span numerous business categories and include Kelloggs, Intel, Dole, Annie’s Homegrown, Harrah’s, and UC Berkeley. Steven is also a director of the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive." [9]
  • Greg Gretsch: Board Member, "is a managing director at Sigma Partners with a thirteen-year background in technology, largely as an entrepreneur. Most recently he served as Vice President of Electronic Direct Marketing for Kana Communications after joining the company through Kana’s acquisition in 1999 of Connectify, Inc., which he co-founded in 1997. His first technology startup was Vicarious, an education and reference CD-ROM publisher, which he founded in 1993 and where he served as CEO. Greg has also held various management positions in IS, marketing and product marketing with companies including Arthur Andersen, Apple and Kaleida Labs. He received his B.B.A. in MIS from the University of Georgia." [10]
  • Nadine Weil: Board Member, "is a strategic marketing and business consultant with over 15 years of experience in the high-technology, internet and consumer sectors. As Vice-President & CFO of Pathway Ventures, Nadine has advised the portfolio companies of leading VC firms including KPCB and Benchmark Capital. Nadine was formerly a Manager of the Internet Practice at LEK Consulting, where her clients included GeoCities, Time Warner, Walt Disney, and PacifiCare. Nadine has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Engineering from Stanford University. She is on the Board of Directors of getInsights.com and the HBSASC Scholarship Fund and an Officer of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association." [11]

Staff

  • Andrew Page: Associate Director, "leads development efforts for MAPLight.org. Andrew has 20 years experience in the nonprofit sector. He has served both as a Membership Director and Political Director of a large California-based grassroots lobby. He has extensive experience in coalition building, strategic planning and organizational development. He received his BA in Philosophy from Tufts University." [13]
  • Sean Tanner: Research Manager, manages the MAPLight.org database and research internship program. Sean is the chair of the Human Rights Watch Bay Area Network, a group of emerging and established professionals who support the work of Human Rights Watch. He received his BA in Contemporary Democracy from the University of California at Berkeley, where he graduated both Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude." [14]

Funding

MAPLight has received $277,000 from the Sunlight Foundation "to provide core funding to support the organization’s newly launched Web 2.0 federal search engine that interactively exposes the links between dollars donated by interested parties and congressional votes." [15] MAPLight also says it receives funding from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the Arkay Foundation, and individual donors. [16]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch resources

Sources

  1. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  2. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  3. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  4. "Data Sources," MAPLight.org website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  5. "Data Sources," MAPLight.org website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  6. "Data Sources," MAPLight.org website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  7. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  8. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  9. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  10. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  11. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  12. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  13. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  14. "About MAPLight", MAPLight website. Captured September 30, 2007.
  15. List of grants and grantees, website of the Sunlight Foundation. Captured Sept. 30, 2007.
  16. Frequently Asked Questions, MAPLight website. Captured Sept. 30, 2007.

External resources

External articles