A Powerful New Tool to Search and Analyze Money in Politics

October 05, 2017

As Americans unite in frustration with the outsized influence of money in politics, the question of whose money is funding candidates for public office is more vital than ever.  With the sheer quantity and complexity of campaign finance data increasing in recent elections, citizens need tools that respond to the challenge, like MapLight’s new Campaign Contribution Search.

MapLight’s new search tool allows users to:

  • Quickly and easily search for campaign contributions to all candidates for federal office from the 2008 election to the present;
  • Search for multiple donors and multiple candidates simultaneously;
  • View contributions from the same organization grouped together (for example: contributions reported from “General Electric Inc” and “GE” are combined as “General Electric”); and
  • Download the data for free for more detailed analyses.

For journalists, researchers, and citizens, the new search tool is a powerful and intuitive way to explore the patterns of influence in our federal government. Data tables available for download break down the data by party, employer, contributor zip code, transaction date, and other categories that allow users to perform sophisticated analyses.

The Campaign Contribution Search also includes an API for web developers, which allows users to search for contributions by candidate; election cycle; text search of contributor name and contributor employer; and name-standardized organizations for major contributors curated by MapLight’s data team. The API is free for public, noncommercial use with paid licenses available for commercial and private use.

Public knowledge about who funds political campaigns is essential to a functioning democracy, and promoting access to that information is a central aspect of our work at MapLight. 

The new search tool will complement other powerful resources designed by our peers at the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics, as well as the Federal Election Commission’s search tool. More information on the similarities and differences of each tool is outlined below.
Comparison of free search tools
Click here
 to download the chart in PDF format.