Guiding voters to candidates with the right wallets

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While there are lots of places online to follow the money in politics, few of them take the approach that all that cash in the system could provide beneficial information to voters.

But that is the thinking behind a project launched this week by a couple of Stanford scholars. They view campaign disclosure reports as a treasure trove of data that can be used to connect neophyte politicos with like-minded candidates.

Like so many other Silicon Valley startups, their project,, is rooted in an algorithm. This one is fueled by campaign cash.

Crowdpac’s motto: “It turns out the best guide to what a politician will do is not what comes out of their mouth, but what goes into their wallet.”

Which interest groups have contributed to a candidate “turns out to be an incredible predictor of how a candidate will behave in office,” said Crowdpac co-founder Steve Hilton, a former advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is a visiting professor at Stanford.

“Political donors put a lot of effort into where their money should go. Donors do a lot of research about which candidates stand for what. We are crowdsourcing that information.”

The project is initially catering to voters interested in California races. Hilton and his Stanford colleague Adam Bonica, a political science professor, hope to showcase it in the 33rd Congressional District, where a number of well-funded candidates are looking to replace Democrat Henry Waxman, who is retiring. ( read more here)

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