Trump on Politicians for Sale

“When they call, I give. [...] When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that's a broken system."

On Thursday, August 6, 2015 at the Republican Debate in Cleveland, OH
Sources: Fox News,, 

The Context: When asked about his prior practice of "supporting a host of other liberal policies" and donating to Democratic campaigns, Trump reflected on the "broken system" of campaign finance. He describes his campaign contributions as decisions that were less about politics and more about business—adding that as a New Yorker, currying political favor means donating to Democratic candidates. 

Last month, we mapped the federal campaign contributions to date within this election cycle following Jim Webb's remark that campaign funding tends to "drown out" or steer the debate. While Trump declined to offer political examples of the influence his funding garnered (he opted instead to cite the Clintons' attendance at his wedding as the returned favor), his comment implies a set of practices that confirm Webb's critique. 

We described then that if campaign finance influences the debate (and the decisions of elected officials), then the geography of contributions to campaigns for federal offices matters as the issues of most importance to large donors are not the same across the country. (In Trump's case, the debate moderator pointed out that, in addition to funding candidates in New York, he also donated to Nancy Pelosi in California.) We promised to periodically update our Political Contributions map, and so again we ask

Where have the political contributions come from thus far in the 2016 election cycle? And what sorts of committees (candidates, parties, or PACs) are receiving the lion's share?