It's March, and Congress and many state legislatures are busy! If you are a reporter covering proposed bills, be sure to remember this arrow in your quiver: the National Institute on Money in Politics identifies the members of legislative committees in the states and in Congress, compiles data about who contributed to those committee members' election campaigns, and makes tools available to inform your work as you decipher it all. Institute researchers have nearly completed the 2020 legislative committee membership lists; you can access this essential information in three ways, all for free at: www.FollowTheMoney.org.
My Legislature allows you to identify who has contributed to the committee members considering legislation you care about, in addition to seeing who has given to sponsors of any piece of legislation. This enables you to analyze how political contributions correlate with actions by bill sponsors, legislators, and committees. My Legislature also contains information about what actions have been taken on each bill. Simply select for congressional delegates or select your state from the drop-down menu at My Legislature and use the tabs in the upper left to navigate your own very specific search.
Power Mapping for states or for Congress empowers analysis of how members of a legislative chamber or a committee may be inclined to vote on specific legislation or general issues based on their campaign donor pools. If you are an advocate, this tool can be extraordinarily useful for identifying legislators who may be open to persuasion either for or against your issue based on patterns in their fundraising. Journalists may find interesting stories here, as well, particularly in cases of legislators who have donor pools that are dominated by interests pushing a specific agenda. The Power Mapping page includes links in the lower right that describe the tool functionality and provide a video tutorial.
Finally, the Institute's powerful Ask Anything search function serves fully tailored searches. For example, with only a few clicks it is possible to see the largest donors to members of the New York State Senate Housing, Construction, and Community Development Committee or the largest donors to members of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee.
With the Institute's freshly updated legislative committee membership lists and comprehensive campaign finance data, the possibilities are truly endless.
As always, do call us with any questions. We actually answer the phone: 406-449-2480.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan National Institute on Money in Politics collects and analyzes campaign contribution information on state and federal candidates, political party committees, and ballot committees. Its free, searchable database of contributions is online at FollowTheMoney.org