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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Anomaly Tracker

From Open Secrets:
Attention, supersleuth readers: We have a brand new tool for you to play with, a new category on ouranomaly tracker. This one is focused on outlier expenditures of political committees, allowing you to find out when more than 50 percent of a committee’s money goes to a single vendor — and who those cash-guzzlers are.
One important note: These are anomalies in the statistical sense, the committees and recipients that stand out in the data. That doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything improper happening. All it means is that a particular committee devotes an unusually large percentage of its money to one campaign vendor or consultant. Maybe that consultant is really good at what they do, or maybe the committee has a very specific purpose for which a particular vendor is uniquely suited.

This won’t necessarily flag the House Speaker’s affinity for steakhouses, but it might indicate which companies are profiting the most from the business of politics. For instance, you’ll see that an Arizona-based call center and direct mailing service called Political Advertising is making millions every cycle from conservative groups, including the Life & Liberty PAC Republican Majority Campaign and RightMarch.com. Other usual suspects include InfoCision Management, a similar communications outfit out of Ohio, and the Gula Graham Group, a Republican fundraising firm based in Washington. InfoCision is so profitable that it has lent its name to a football stadium at the University of Akron, the alma matter of its founder, Gary Taylor. The former CEO also gave the school $3.5 million in 2004 to open the “Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing.”