Following the money

The Obama administration has been making a big push in the last few days to tout the effects of the massive economic stimulus package. So, I’ve been poking around the very impressive site, specifically the section for Minnesota.

A few observations:


The top districts receiving cash — 4th, 5th, 8th, 1st, and 7th — are the congressional seats held by DFLers. The 3rd, 6th, and 2nd are Republican seats in Minnesota.

On a page of all Minnesota congressional districts, the 27th, 9th, 57th, 12th, 14th, 22nd, 11th, 42nd, 20th and 13th districts are listed as receiving $7.5 million, creating or saving 50.3 jobs (that’s $150,000 each).

Oh, and there is no 27th, 9th, 57th, 12th, 14th, 22nd, 11th, 42nd, 20th, or 13th districts in Minnesota.

A map of the state on the page shows where stimulus funds have been allocated:


But none of the dots are linked anywhere and a slider to zoom only makes big dots.

$18 million is being spent to redesign the site.

  • Bob,

    I’ve taken a look at this, though probably not deeply enough. The 4th district is also where the State Capitol and other statewide agencies are located.

    Isn’t it possible that some of the money shown going to the 4th District (where MnDOT is headquartered) is really being distributed around the state? Same with other districts where public agencies and consulting entities serving a wider area are likely to be headquartered.

  • Bob Collins

    I would say so, yes. There was a gentleman on Twitter today who was asking how it is that Sacramento can be getting so much stimulus money as indicated by the site. Sacramento, of course, is California’s St. Paul.

    It was, on the other hand, probably silly to think we’d be really able to track this stuff effectively.

    MMBO and the Dept of Education have also come out with numbers in recent weeks and when you look at the methodology, it’s very difficult to say for certain what money is where and how many specific jobs it created or saved.

    Truth, perhaps, can only be found in Minnesota’s “Fightin’ 57th!”

  • BJ

    As long as our Congressperson from the 57th votes the right way I’m all for these districts that don’t have space on some liberal MPR map.


  • Kat

    Most of the 4th district money does indeed represent statewide programs where the recipient is headquartered in the 4th district. If you click on the dots to see the recipient data, then on “view all awards” then on the “more details” links at the bottom of that, they list subrecipients, many of which are in different CDs.

    Those little dots are another example of bad site design, since I can get the data boxes on them to come up if I access the map through the front page of and click on them once, but I can’t get the data boxes to pop at all if I access them through the state summary page.