Media Fact Sheet
“Every taxpayer should take a hard look at this site. Never before have citizens been able to so easily track the influences on their elected officials.”
- Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism
WHO WE ARE:
MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics in the U.S. Congress and the California and Wisconsin state legislatures. We provide journalists and citizens with transparency tools that connect data on campaign contributions, politicians, legislative votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence never before possible to see.
WHAT WE DO:
We’re political money trackers. We track the large sums of money elected officials collect to run their reelection campaigns, because they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This influence is pervasive throughout our government, affecting what legislation is introduced, what issues are considered, and what ultimately becomes law.
OUR TRANSPARENCY TOOLS:
MapLight’s massive public database contains over 30 million records, including campaign finance data, legislative voting data, and interest group support and opposition data. We provide transparency tools for searching, sorting, visualizing, and finding connections within this database, allowing users to gain unique insights into how campaign contributions affect policy so they can draw their own conclusions about how money influences our political system.
A sampling of our tools:
Compares campaign contributions from interest groups that support a bill with contributions from interest groups in opposition.
Contributions by Vote
Correlates interest group contributions with how lawmakers vote.
Timeline of Contributions
Shows when campaign contributions were received in relation to a vote.
Allows journalists and citizens to search for and track bills by issue area.
Profiles top-contributing companies and organizations, ranking them according to the total contributions they have made, documented bill positions they have taken, and bill positions they have "won."
Find out who gave what to whom and when.
Please see our research guide (http://maplight.org/us-congress/guide/tools) for the complete list.
MapLight logos are available for download from our logo page.
MapLight has received numerous awards, including a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism; a James Madison Freedom of Information Award; a Library Journal Best Reference Award; and a Webby Award nomination for Best Politics Website.
Since 2009, MapLight’s data has reached 135 million people via 3,300 news stories in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, CNN, USA Today, Fox Business News, the public radio show “Marketplace,” Harper’s magazine, Reuters, and hundreds of other national, state, and local outlets across the country. Our groundbreaking lawsuit against the state of California won public access to California’s database of how state legislators vote.
MapLight publishes and distributes reports highlighting money’s influence on a variety of issues. Past reports include:
Investing in Influence
Business groups dominate the funding of California lawmakers’ campaigns.
U.S. House members raise 79% of campaign funds from outside their districts.
California Health Care
On health-related bills, how lawmakers vote correlates closely with campaign donations.
How Money Watered Down the Climate Bill
House committee actions that illustrate the influence of special interests on climate legislation.
Campaign contributions pave the way for high-interest loans.
MapLight is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) research organization based in Berkeley, California. Our mission is to reveal money’s influence on politics using our extensive database of campaign contributions, legislative votes, industry support and opposition. We combine data from the Federal Election Commission, the Center for Responsive Politics, GovTrack.us, the National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP), the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, and other sources to better inform Americans and local and national media about the role of special-interest money in our political system.
2223 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
Campaign contributions are only one factor affecting legislator behavior. The correlations we highlight between industry and union giving and legislative outcomes do not show that one caused the other, and we do not make this claim. We do make the claim, however, that campaign contributions bias our legislative system. Simply put, candidates who take positions contrary to industry interests are unlikely to receive industry funds and thus have fewer resources for their election campaigns than those whose votes favor industry interests.