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Election Watch Parties to Follow Money & Winners

November 2, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A new kind of Election Night watch party is taking place across the country tonight. With billions spent in blowout campaign contributions, substantially more than the last presidential election, plenty of pundits and analysts will be following the money, as well as the winners. And one organization is focusing their coverage almost entirely on it. Gabriela Schneider is communications director for the Sunlight Foundation, which is hosting "Sunlight Live" tonight on its website.

"So when you see an election call, let's say for the Senate race, which is one that's one of the most heated races that we're seeing this election season, we'll have data that shows where the money came from."

Schneider says the backdrop for this year's elections has been totally reshaped by the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, which opened the floodgates to unlimited non-party donations by anonymous donors.

"And what we're trying to do is figure out who's really behind this and empower anyone to be able to fire up their computer, or their smartphone, and look for themselves and see who's buying these ads, who's trying to influence their votes."

Schneider's organization is also coordinating Sunlight Live watch parties across the country. The group's Washington staff will be answering questions from viewers nationwide. She says it's not partisan, and reveals where the money fueling both parties' campaigns is coming from.

More on Sunlight Live is at sunlightfoundation.com

Eric Mack, Public News Service - WV