July 30th, 2010
Reports of indictments against two Republican big donors may be breaking news this morning, but details of their political contributions are nothing new online:
According to the Washington Post, “The SEC has charged Samuel Wyly and Charles Wyly — billionaire brothers in Texas who have been major political donors to conservative campaigns — with reaping more than $550 million through fraudulent practices.”
Contributors attached to Ranger Governance Ltd. gave 134 contributions totaling $178,600 for election cycles 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010. All 134 contributions associated with Ranger Governance Ltd. were made by members of the Wyly family. The Wyly brothers are also associated with Michael’s Stores, Sterling Software, Scottish Annuity & Life Holdings Ltd., Computer Associates, Maverick Capital, Frost Brothers and Green Mountain Capital.
To investigate political contributions associated with these companies and other members of the Ranger Governance Ltd. slate of directors, check out Maplight.org’s new contributions search tool. MAPLight.org’s contributions data is provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Twenty years ago, this information would have been hidden away in FEC records, available in practice only to political opposition research professionals and a handful of activists. Now, EVERYONE can see how far the tentacles spread, making us all potential political journalists. An idea for a political contributions database floated around in the early days of the original dot-com-era incarnation of Epolitics.com, and it’s great to see the promise fulfilled. Information may want to be free, but politics runs on money…and sites like MapLight give us a much clearer view of how that process works.