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I’m confused

Is data correct for Republican Majority Campaign?

Your data shows that the Republican Majority Campaign has given millions to Democratic candidates. OpenSecrets.org's website shows 100% of their contributions going to Republicans.

Who is correct?
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  • I agree that it's confusing--there are a lot of non-obvious intricacies to campaign finance data. In the case of Republican Majority Campaign and Obama, the spending was on independent expenditures against Obama. If you download the data from here:

    http://transparencydata.com/contribut...=

    you'll see a column called transaction_type. The FEC tracks a variety of different types of transfers and expenditures beyond simple donations. The transaction_type field encodes that information. In this case, the transaction type is '24A', meaning independent expenditure against a candidate. '24E' would be an independent expenditure supporting a candidate. A full list of transaction types is available from the FEC:

    ftp://ftp.fec.gov/FEC/indiv_dictionary.txt

    You might also want to read this blog post on using TransparencyData:

    http://sunlightlabs.com/blog/2011/cam...

    It doesn't cover the specific issue of independent expenditures, but it will give you an overview of the various complexities to keep in mind when working with this data.

    I hope that clears things up somewhat.

    Ethan Phelps-Goodman
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