National Institute On Money In State Politics

This is the third in a series of posts that will explore some of the leading organizations from around the country that are engaged in unearthing and combating the influence of money in the political process.

Role in the Landscape

The Institute is the only organization collecting  information about campaign contributions at the state level. They capture state-wide races such as state senators, governors, attorney generals, and ballot measures. This is done for all 50 states. They are primarily a transparency/data organization, but are eager to support grassroots groups, journalists, and individuals wanting to make use of their resources.

Contact Information
833 N Last Chance Gulch
Helena, MT 59601
http://www.followthemoney.org/
(406) 449-2480

Executive Director
Ed Bender
edwinb@statemoney.org

Managing Director
Denise Roth Barber
deniser@statemoney.org

Resources they Provide

The Institute makes its campaign-finance database available online at: http://www.followthemoney.org/. The database tracks contributions made to statewide candidates, ballot measures, and party committees in each state. Groups can download much of this contribution data and work with it themselves or use several different tools:

My district: lists statewide candidates representing a given address, identifies their contributors, donors based within the district, and provides the district’s voting record.

Point of Influence: maps where contributions come from, determines the influence of out-of-district or out-of-state money.

Industry Influence: uses a drill-down technique to find money contributed by particular industries.

Timeline: shows political donations using two graphs; one graph contains cumulative values, and the other shows totals for a given day.

L-Cat: identifies who sits in a given committee and who funds them; helps illustrate the strategic nature of a company’s or an industry’s political donations, possibly to the committees that oversee them or have the power to pass, squash, or shape particular pieces of legislation that might impact their bottom line.

Lobbyist Link: shows the total number of lobbyists in a given state; can filter by company or industry; does not show lobbying expenditures.

Pulse: produces scatter plot graphs summarizing winning and losing candidates’ campaign spending.

(m)c50: measures a state or district based on whether races are considered competitive.

External websites: widgets and an API (application programming interface) are made available for bringing data from http://followthemoney.org/ to other websites.

Money in Politics series

  1. Money in Politics (introduction)
  2. Looking Beyond Campaign Contributions
  3. National Institute On Money In State Politics
  4. Center For Responsive Politics
  5. MOOSE: Monied Out-of-State Executives (case study)
  6. Public Campaign
  7. Common Cause
  8. MapLight.org
  9. Sunlight Foundation
  10. Good Jobs First
  11. Disinfecting Banker’s Day on the Hill (case study)
  12. Project Vote Smart
  13. Hitting the Jackpot (case study)
  14. Democracy North Carolina (case study)
  15. Connecticut Citizen Action Group (case study)
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