* symbol represents a site we find particularly useful.
Initiative Strategy Center (http://www.ballot.org/)
Western States Center project that tracks ballot initiatives
around the country. Section "In Your State" provides
information by state - including how to qualify a ballot
initiative in your state - and by issue. In the "Ballot
Funding" section you can find out who is funding particular
ballot initiatives. Resources section has archived articles
on ballot initiatives, bibliography, consultants, and links
to organizations and publications. Recently added features
include national ballot measure highlights organized by
issue. You can also sign up for their email bulletin.
Finance Information Center (http://www.campaignfinance.org/)
A project of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. Much
of the site is accessible only to members ($50 annually
for those in journalism fields), but anyone can access their
searchable database of campaign finance news stories. To
get there, click on the "Resources" section, then
on "Campaign Finance Stories", then scroll to
the bottom of the page and click on "search."
You can search for stories on a particular candidate or
issue to find out what reporters have already dug up and
which reporters are already interested. Look in the Resources
section as well, under Useful Links, for a list of sites
offering state campaign finance data. For each state they
note whether the state puts their campaign finance data
online, and if the state makes it searchable or offers it
for Public Integrity (http://www.publici.org/dtaweb/home.asp)
Focus is on "public service journalism," publishes
investigative reports and books, many of which deal with
money & politics and include on-line searchable data.
Features include a searchable (by zip code) database of
who owns local radio, television and cable, (click on the
"Well Connected" icon) as well as ongoing coverage
of presidential election campaign financing issues ("Buying
of the President 2004" in the resources section).
for Responsive Politics (http://www.opensecrets.org/)
Industry section has 80 different industry profiles, with
campaign contributions going back ten years. On the candidate
side, CRP has profiles for every single Senate and House
race, as well as the presidential race. The site includes
lobbyist and soft money databases in the Who's Giving section,
and searchable full text archives of various CRP publications
(Monday Morning Alert, Capital Eye, etc.). Also has contact
information for locating state campaign contributions, and
good overviews of campaign finance reform. If you can't
find what you want, they offer custom research and data
for modest fees.
Reports on links between campaign contributions and legislation
(see "campaign finance studies" at the bottom
of the home page. Searchable database (under "DataCenter"
tab) to find Soft Money contributions, contributions to
parties' national committees. Find a chart of Bush campaign
Pioneers - individuals who have contributed more than $100,000
- in the "Just Watch" section.
Democracy Matters informs and engages college students and
communities, focusing on strengthening democracy and the
role of private money in elections. They have campus-based
chapters and paid student organizing internships throughout
the country. The website includes downloadable resources
from flyers to press advisories to graphics, as well as
suggestions for classroom resources for teachers, all related
to money and politics.
Electoral Commission Info (http://www.fecinfo.com/)
This non-FEC site - Political Money Line - provides extensive
Federal Election Commission raw data quickly. It is good
for looking up campaign contributions to federal candidates
and the major national parties (soft money). There are several
search options, including by individual contributor, occupation
(employer) and Political Action Committee spending (by sector
or specific PAC). Recently added features include national
party summary figures, and "disbursements" database
can be unwieldy but does provide information on how much
campaign committees spent on particular types of activities.
Some databases are free, others searchable by paid subscribers
only. There is a hefty fee to access soft money and lobbyist
information. (see Center for Responsive Politics for free
Procurement Data Center (http://www.fpdc.gov/fpdc/FpdsContractorForm1a.htm)
The U.S. General Service Administration has put a searchable
database of federal contractors online. The database includes
contracts worth over $25,000, and only contracts active
in fiscal year 2002. Search results give contract amounts,
products purchased and details such as whether the contract
was awarded under competitive bidding, and whether the contract
is subject to labor laws such as the Service Contract Act.
FPDC sells the same data for fiscal years 1994 to 2001on
CD at http://www.fpdc.gov/fpdc/otherprod.htm.
the Money (http://www.followthemoney.org)
National Institute on Money in State Politics website. Reports
and searchable database on campaign contributions at the
state election level (not federal offices). Can search across
states and by issue for contributors as well as by candidate.
Not as up to date as federal elections info (it currently
includes all states through 2002), but the database is under
continuous construction. One of few sites with state-level
contributions information in one place. Site tutorials help
users build effective searches and reports.
Vote Smart (http://www.vote-smart.org/)
Voting records, campaign finance data, issue positions,
interest group ratings, public statements and contact information
on all 2004 federal candidates as well as the president
and current members of congress. Amounts received by current
office holders from specific interest groups, such as agriculture,
are shown back to the late 1980's. Similar information on
state legislators, governors and non-incumbent candidates.
Has a section under: Government & Politics, IssuesResearch
the Issuesthat provides background on an issue with
links to progressive and conservative advocacy organizations
working on that issue. They also provide links to Think
Tanks and Research Institutes.
Provides links to publications and public interest groups
that are involved in campaign finance reform, as well as
reports on the issue. Has full text archive of their frequent
email bulletin linking contributions to legislative activity,
"Ouch" (which you can subscribe to). Recently
revamped website has a new look, but same content. The new
Color of Money project uses campaign contribution statistics
and legislative results to show how communities of color
and the poor are severely underrepresented because of their
inability to keep pace with the campaign contributions from
wealthier, non-minority communities. You can search the
data used to generate the report to see campaign contributions
by ethnicity and neighborhood.
Office of Public Records (http://sopr.senate.gov/)
Provides the most up to date online documentation of Senate
lobbying records, going back to 1998. Searchable by client
name, registrant, lobbyist name, date and amount. Results
are images of scanned documents. No comparable online service
for the House of Representatives yet (try the Legislative
Resource Center, 202-226-5200).
StateNet monitors pending bills and regulations in the 50
states and Congress as well as campaign contributions for
state level offices going back several years. There is a
monthly subscription fee of several hundred dollars, depending
on how many services you want. (We subscribe to StateNet
for California at the DataCenter).
Congressional web site that tracks bills (with full text
and amendments, voting record), committee members and reports,
links to state and municipal governments. Includes full
text of public laws back to 1973, and full text of bills
from 1989 (see "about Thomas" for more on historical
Department of State, Foreign Press Centers (http://fpc.state.gov/)
See what your Congresspersons are reading about campaign
finance reform. Click on "Reports" to access the
Congressional Research Service's December 15, 2003 briefing
on campaign finance reform, a useful overview of the legislative
history. One of the few sites where you can still get access
to Congressional Research Service reports.
2005. Please send Web site corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.