This is part fifteen in a series of posts that will explore some of the leading organizations from around the country that are engaged in unearthing and combating the influence of money in the political process.
Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG) has used money in politics dirt to escalate a fight against waste incinerators, which spew toxins into the air. CCAG discovered that key senators had received donations from the industry around the time of a close vote. Although the sums weren’t large, the mere fact of taking the money looked bad for the electeds involved. CCAG followed up with public actions, such as holding a “bake sale” to send one of their members to a targeted politician’s fundraiser, just like the incinerator industry was able to do.
What worked wasn’t just the numbers themselves–it was finding ways to use them creatively, getting them repeated, and building the narrative. However, Tom Swan of CCAG points out that sometimes groups don’t need to (or may not want to) release campaign dirt numbers publicly. For example, in one instance, CCAG did research on corporate money going to leadership PACs and found that the specter of the numbers being released was enough to encourage them to do the right thing.
Money in Politics series
- Money in Politics (introduction)
- Looking Beyond Campaign Contributions
- National Institute On Money In State Politics
- Center For Responsive Politics
- MOOSE: Monied Out-of-State Executives (case study)
- Public Campaign
- Common Cause
- Sunlight Foundation
- Good Jobs First
- Disinfecting Banker’s Day on the Hill (case study)
- Project Vote Smart
- Hitting the Jackpot (case study)
- Democracy North Carolina (case study)
- Connecticut Citizen Action Group (case study)