MONEY & POLITICS
THE RIGHT WING
Sources of Information on Campaign Finance
The contribution of money to political parties and candidates is an
important way in which large corporations and wealthy capitalists
exercise disproportionate influence over politics in the United
States. Until recently, reliable data on the nature and extent of
these contributions has been unavailable or incomplete. In the wake of
the Watergate scandals, stricter reporting requirements on the source
and amount of campaign contributions were imposed on candidates for
federal office. With the Internet, information from these reports
has become more widely accessible. Much campaign money still goes
unreported, and new loopholes are being created with each
election. Nevertheless, the publicly available data on campaign
finance remains an important resource for studying patterns of political
alignment and channels of political influence. Below are some of
the better online sources of data on campaign finance.
Election Commission. This is the official site of the
FEC. It provides complete databases of hard money
contributions for each election since 1994, available for
downloading (very large files). Limited interactive
capabilities (mostly summary statistics).
Money Line. One of the best campaign finance
sites. Includes data on soft money and 527 groups. Very
interactive: easy to search by candidate, committee, state, or
contributor. But much of their data is available only
for a fee. Highly recommended.
Secrets (Center for Responsive Politics). Another one of the
leading campaign finance watchdog sites. Searchable databases of
contributors and candidates. Not quite as comprehensive as CQ
Money Line, but offers a wider range of freely available data.
for Public Integrity. This site originated as a
campaign finance watchdog site, but has since broadened its focus to
include other areas of investigative journalism. Less detailed data than the previous
site, but good analysis and summary statistics. Highly recommended.
Another website that allows you to search for political
contributions by donor, candidate, or zipcode.
Cause. The clean government citizens' lobby.
Extensive resources on campaign finance and electoral
politics. Excellent soft money database, searchable by
contributor, state, or industry. Candidate profiles and
ratings. Selected data on state-level political
campaigns. Summary statistics and well-researched reports on
various aspects of campaign finance.
Campaign. A site dedicated to promoting campaign
finance reform. Good source of information and links.
the Money. This site, operated by the National
Institute on Money and State Politics provides selected data on
contributions to state-level political campaigns. Search
interactively for candidates, contributors, and interest groups
involved in gubernatorial and state legislative races for most
Finance Information Center. Extensive resources on
campaign finance. Operated by Investigative Reporters and
Copyright © 2012 by Val Burris