This week Maplight, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization shining a light on money in politics, released a new study, titled Remote Control, highlighting the findings of a data analysis of California lawmakers' campaign contributions. The study found that 79 percent of the funds raised by California lawmakers come from outside of the district. Maplight uses data compiled by the National Institute for Money in State Politics, which gets its raw data from California's online campaign finance disclosure data.
The study highlights how many incumbents who are in what would be considered "safe seats" nonetheless raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, generally to ensure their place of power within their caucus in the Capitol. Not surprisingly, the Remote Control study found that four zip codes in Sacramento rate among the top ten donor zip codes; Sacramento is home to hundreds of lobbyists who attend dozens of fundraisers every year in order to gain the access they need to succeed in the legislative process.
On Monday, May 24 at 10 a.m. I will be on Capital Public Radio's Insight show along with Maplight's executive director, Daniel Newman, discussing this new study and campaign finance trends in California. Tune in online for a live audiocast.