Prepared for the 2010 Political Networks Conference at Duke University


In this paper, I analyze Federal Election Commission donation data from the 1980-2008 election cycles using the tools of social network analysis. I construct two separate networks for each election cycle. In the first, political committees are networked based on the number of individual donors from whom they each receive funds. In the second, committees and candidates are connected based on monetary transfers among each other. Having constructed these networks, I employ a community detection algorithm in an attempt to derive the community structure of the donation networks. Identifying the relevant communities in each donation network, and the strength with which they are defined, provides insight into the partisan nature of campaign contributions and their relationship to partisan polarization.