Lawmakers Get Most Funding From Outside Districts

'Nonresident contributors donate for expressive purposes,' study shows
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2008 8:53 AM CDT
Celebs are often a draw for donors on the coasts, where fundraisers are more like social events (bring your checkbook).   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Candidates running for Congress are increasingly using affluent ZIP codes outside their own districts as "political ATM machines" to fund their campaigns, a new study finds. In the majority of House races in 2004, almost three-quarters of contributions came from donors outside a lawmaker's district—often from Hollywood, Manhattan's Upper East Side, and other white, moneyed areas. Today's donors are “urban, highly educated, and employed in elite occupations," reports Miller-McCune magazine.

The new data comes as campaign costs are soaring: The cost of the average US House bid has nearly doubled since the mid-1990s. “I’m not quite sure it’s sunk in how extensive these flows are and where they come from,” one of the study’s authors tells Miller-McCune. “I think people in favor of an elitist interpretation of American political power would be very pleased with these results.”