Researching Your Politicians:
Campaign Contribution and Voting Records

Quick Links
Page down for evaluations of each site.
The '@' symbols will jump you down to a specific evaluation.

Federal Campaign Contribution Data

Money in Politics
(the relationship between campaign $$ and voting records)

State & Local Campaign Research

AZ | CT | DE | FL | GA | HI | IL | IN | KS | LA | MD | MI | MN | NJ | NY | NC | OH | PA | UT | VA | WA | WI

Voting Records


If you're looking for a specific corporate or individual contributor, try the FEC Info site first.


Center for Public Integrity
http://www.publicintegrity.org/

CPI's website includes a searchable 527 database.

They also publish many great reports, on topics such as water privatization, oil, war and military contracting, and biotechnology.

CPI published a book called The Buying of the President 2004.

In 1999, CPI published a book called Toxic Deception: How the Chemical Industry Manipulates Science, Bends the Law, and Threatens Your Health. Material from this book is archived at archive.org and includes such things as the "Top 50 Congressional Recipients of Chemical Company PAC Contributions"

Other older CPI reports can be found archived here, including Unreasonable Risk: The Politics of Pesticides, and Nothing Sacred: The Politics of Privacy.


Center For Responsive Politics / Open Secrets
http://www.opensecrets.org/

This massive website covers just about everything about money and politics. It's easy to get overwhelmed here, but it is well worth the time. They have lots of great searchable databases, including ones for lobbyists and politician profiles.

Do-It-Yourself Congressional Investigation Kit

CRP's Power to the People? report details electric utility deregulation and related campaign contributions.

The Wealth Primary -- Campaign Fundraising and the Constitution discusses legally challenging today's campaign finance system on "equal protection" grounds.

Their publication, The Capital Eye, is available on their site and is well worth subscribing to.

CRP now also runs a Federal Elections Commission watchdog website.


Center for Voting and Democracy
http://www.fairvote.org/

The Center for Voting and Democracy researches and disseminates information on how voting systems affect voter participation, accountable governance and fair representation. We specialize in reapportionment and the broad range of proportional representation systems that allow most voters to elect representatives of their choice. We also study reform of plurality rule in single-seat elections to better ensure majority rule and full participation.


Common Cause - Money in Politics
http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=191979

The Common Cause Money in Politics website has info on Public Campaign Financing as well as other electoral reform resources.


Federal Election Commission
http://www.fec.gov/finance/finmenu.htm

This page provides summary listings for each federal race, with the contribution totals from all candidates in elections from 1996 on. This is good for if you want to see how non-competitive our elections really are. In most districts, the money spent on campaigns by the candidates is extremely one-sided. There are also HUGE downloadable campaign finance data files for the whole country. This site is good on summaries, but still short on useful details.


How the System Works (or doesn't)
http://www.corporations.org/system/

This is a site assembled by yours truly. It's focus is on exposing corporate rule in our society. The section titled "Corporate Control of Government (campaign finance)" has links to a few good articles on money in politics issues.


League of Conservation Voters
http://www.lcv.org

LCV has detailed environmental scorecards on members of Congress with background on the bills whose votes these guides are based on.


CQ Moneyline
moneyline.cq.com/pml/home.do

This site used to be the best free site around. It's now only available for free on a limited trial basis now that it's merged with Congressional Quarterly, but only if you register.


Mother Jones: The Coin-Operated Congress
http://www.motherjones.com/coinop_congress/

The Mother Jones 400 tracks top political donors in U.S. political campaigns. Search for the top political contributers in your area. They have some of the same data available that the Center for Responsive Politics does (White House flights, sleepovers & coffees) as well as resources on the influence of the gambling industry, a report on how legislators vote to improve their stock holdings, and plenty of resources devoted to exposing Newt Gingrich's GOPAC committee.

This site has campaign contributions broken down pretty well by industry. To start searching for your favorite legislator, start here: http://www.motherjones.com/coinop_congress/data_viewer/data_viewer.html


National Institute on Money in State Politics
http://www.followthemoney.org/

You can search state-level campaign contributions here for most U.S. states.


Project Vote Smart
http://www.vote-smart.org/

This site allows you to locate your state and federal representatives through your zip code (and it provides a lookup for your zip+4 based on your street address). It also provides guides on where your legislators stand on various issues. Voting records, contact information and much more is available on this site.


Public Campaign
http://www.publicampaign.org/

This is a very informative site with lots of good resources on campaign finance reform on the state and federal levels. They provide good reports and examples on how campaign contributions erode democracy, including a report called The Color of Money which investigates campaign contributions and race. Their OUCH Bulletins (also available by email) explain how money in politics hurts you. Public Campaign's Clean Money Campaign Reform site contains good information on how to reform election financing so that elections don't depend on private financing.


THOMAS: the Library of Congress Legislation Server
http://thomas.loc.gov

This is an excellent site if you know what legislation you're looking for (a bill number helps). You can find text of legislation and information on its status, co-sponsors and more. Lots of other federal government resources are available through this site.


Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/campfin/campfin.htm

This site focuses on the Democratic National Committee and President Clinton's fundraising scandals.



* Toxic Discharges can also be looked up at the Right-To-Know Network's website. This and other toxics databases can be accessed via the Pollution Maps and Toxics Databases site.


Further information on federal legislation, regulations, testimony, laws and government reports can be found through the GPO Access website.



Return to the Action Center Homepage

http://www.corporations.org/campaign$$/