Updated and greatly expanded since the first edition (1990), which dealt with the role of political action committees (PACs) in the 1988 Congressional elections, Open Secrets is a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit bipartisan research group. ``It was written to show everyone where their own members of Congress get the money that keeps them in office, and to reveal the specific industries and interest groups that are most generous to Congress as a whole.'' Five sections cover the 1990 campaign; the first part, ``The Big Picture,'' offers information on campaign costs generally, summary charts of the 1990 races, election laws, where to obtain election data, and so forth. The largest portion of the book profiles individual representatives and the contributions made to them. Other sections detail which industries donate to which representatives, which Senate/House committee members received the most money and from where, and the contributions of PACS. There is little text; rather, a goldmine of information is presented in tables and charts that are clear and effective at pointing to the interests behind the money. Handbook of Campaign Spending nicely dovetails with Open Secrets as it comprehensively covers how Congressional candidates spent the money they raised in the 1990 Congressional elections. Two Los Angeles Times reporters analyzed 437,753 expenditures reported to the Federal Election Commission by 972 candidates. Figures for each of the winning and losing candidates include vote totals and tables of each type of campaign expenditure (i.e., office expense, travel, fund-raising, advertising, polling, donations, etc.). Brief summaries discuss spending, fund-raising, and the nature of each campaign and put numbers in perspective. Additionally, several informative, interesting chapters analyze such issues as why campaigns cost so much, the incumbent advantage, and the role of television and political consultants. In sum, the authors provide an incisive, fully documented look ``at what money in politics actually buys and how it has radically transformed the process of electing public officials.'' Most of the information in Open Secrets and Handbook of Campaign Spending is not available in other reference sources. Both volumes are truly impressive compilations of data presented in an effective and balanced manner. Their introductory/explanatory material, organization, and indexes are excellent. All academic and larger public libraries will want to own both these titles.-- Mary Jane Brustman, SUNY at Albany Libs.
One of the most illuminating and important references on the practice of congressional politics, providing a nonpartisan analysis of the contributions of some 3,200 political action committees (PACs) to the 1990 congressional elections. These contributions are investigated, analyzed, and categorized by industry and interest group, and bring to light patterns and trends of campaign giving that all Americans should be aware of. This new edition (first was in 1989) expands its coverage of the industry patterns of giving by including individual contributions, and uncovers the fact that some industries greatly boost their financial clout by giving contributions from individuals as well as PACs. For every public, college, and university library. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)