The FEC provides direct access to campaign finance data. The data provided by the FEC is in csv format. For the 2014-2016 election cycle, it consists of 6 files:
- the Committee Master File: details on the PACs (download);
- the Candidate Master File: detail on the candidates (download);
- the Committees Transactions File: records of all transaction between committees (download);
- the Committees Contributions File: records of all contributions to candidates from PACs (download);
- the Individual Contribution File: records of all contributions by individuals (download);
- Operating Expenditures (download);
The 2014 US elections cost $3.8bn. Candidates, PACs, parties, individuals, companies: the FEC data is available to those curious to understand who funds US politics and how.
It all starts with individual contributors. They donate money to PACs (Individual Contribution File). The PACs in turn can donate money to political candidates (Committees Contributions File) or other PACs (Committees Transactions File).
This allows us to create a first model of the political graph: