In 2009, the U.S. health care reform process is focused on a group of 6 senators, commonly referred to as the "Gang of Six." The six senators are shown in the social graph above as green nodes. Also, on the map are lobbyists [blue nodes] who were hired by various players in the health care industry [red nodes] to influence the six key senators.
The size of the node corresponds to its role in this political dance of influence. The larger the node, the more it is in "the thick of things" in the network. Notice that many lobbyists, and a few industry players, have nodes that are as large, or larger, than a few of the Gang of Six! In terms of lobbying muscle, PhRMA [Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America] appears to be the new NRA. The cocoon of lobbyists around the Gang of Six may have strongly influenced today's vote on the "public option" in the US Senate Finance Committee.
The connections in the network map are all flows of influence... from the outside in. Industry clients pass requests and information to lobbyists they hire who then package it and pass it on to the politicians. The lobbyists are connected to the politicians via previous work ties -- person X used to work for Senator Y, and now lobbies Senator Y using previously established ties of trust to relay his/her client's message.
You can interact with the network map by dragging the nodes around, zooming in and out, right-clicking [option-click for Mac] to move the whole map, and using the panel to the left of the graph to view subsets of nodes and links.
We thank OpenSecrets.org and the Center for Responsive Politics for the lobbying data.
Copyright © 2009, Valdis Krebs
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