whosfundingwhom.org is a site USF students and I built to help visualize campaign funding trails for San Francisco politicians and donors. We worked with the SF Ethics commission and we download their raw transaction data.
The site is part of the Transparency in Government project here at USF. As part of the project, we also built an on-line lobbyist filing system for the Ethics Commission and we are working on a political consultant filing system.
One of our next steps is to investigate porting whosfundingwhom.org to other cities and/or the state level. Wednesday, I’m meeting in Sacramento with David Hulse, Gail Kuramoto-Jackson, and Debra McCastle of the Political Reform division for the state of California.
One possible solution would be to come up with an xml protocol for funding data, then have California and others generate it, so that clients like whosfundingwhom could aggregate funding data from various places. Currently, every municipality seems to have their own hidden database.