by Brendan Quinn
We track a lot of data here at OpenSecrets. We look at campaign finance, lobbying spending, personal finances and a whole lot more. Sometimes, that data reveals something unusual – an anomaly, if you will. That is why we have a handy tool called the Anomaly Tracker to highlight these unusual findings.
An anomaly, as we define it, is an occurrence that is out of the ordinary. It is not necessarily an indication that there is something amiss or nefarious.
Currently, we are tracking 6 distinct kinds of anomalies:
- Lawmakers sponsoring legislation that was lobbied by only one company or other organization whose employees or PAC also donated to the sponsoring lawmakers.
- Lawmakers receiving twice as much in contributions from their top donors as their next highest donors.
- Lawmakers receiving twice as much in contributions from their top donor industries as their next highest donor industries.
- Lawmakers receiving more than 50 percent of their itemized contributions from out of state.
- More than 50 percent of a committee or candidate’s spending is paid to a single vendor.
- PACs giving at least $7,500 to a candidate’s Leadership PAC but nothing to the candidate’s committee.
But we can only discover so much on our own. That is where you come in. We are offering a bounty for money-in-politics anomalies found in federal data by anyone who is interested in looking. As a reward, savvy hunters can receive OpenSecrets swag and/or can have their relevant work featured in our weekly money-in-politics newsletter.
You can submit findings to [email protected] Contest runs as long as there is money involved in American elections. Happy hunting.