National Institute on Money in Politics (Follow the Money)

The National Institute on Money in Politics is a nonpartisan organization “dedicated to accurate, comprehensive and unbiased documentation and research on campaign finance at the state level.” Founded in 1999, the institute creates and maintains publicly accessible databases (with more than 12 million records), containing information about campaign funding at the state level. It uses this information to assess the influence of money in public policy.

Visitors to the site can “follow the money” by using the “Search Our Data” option on the right-hand side of the home page. It’s possible to search for political contributions by state and year, candidate or committee, and contributor or special interests. The website’s research and reports section contains information on trends in political contributions, including the donating habits of special interest groups. The data snapshots section includes quick summaries of the institute’s findings, and an interactive U.S. map includes information on the number of races in each state.

Beyond its free offerings, the institute sells data, such as the contributions received by every candidate in a certain state in an election cycle or the contributions made by a certain entity. The organization also provides customized reports, for a fee. The institute receives funding from private foundations including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, JEHT Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Open Society Institute and the Pew Charitable Trusts. It’s also supported by data sales to researchers and newspapers, contracts for custom research, and individual contributions.

Comments: This is a good companion website to opensecrets.org, which examines campaign spending at the federal level.

Political Leanings: None