MapLight's Core Work
MapLight has three key strengths that, collectively, are not possessed by any other transparency or accountability organization:
Only MapLight produces a unique database combining lawmakers’ votes, groups supporting and opposing legislation, and campaign contributions—a database specifically developed to serve increased public accountability.
Our Bill Positions API includes which interest groups, companies, and organizations support and oppose key bills in Congress. For each bill, our in-house research team uses public records sources, like congressional hearing testimony, news databases, and trade associations’ websites, to determine a bill’s supporters and opponents.
Our MapLight Federal Money and Politics Data Set is an easy-to-access, downloadable database featuring MapLight-enhanced Federal Elections Commission campaign finance data and is available for free public use. The data set includes all federal contributions, independent expenditures, and candidate and committee totals, updated regularly with the most current data from the FEC.
Our Federal Lobbying Database provides timely information on unions, companies, and organizations that are lobbying the federal government, including how much money is being spent, which firms are being hired, which issues are being lobbied on, who is being lobbied, and more. This data set is freely available as a searchable Web interface and as a downloadable spreadsheet for deeper analysis.
The Personal Financial Disclosures Search brings to light the the fiscal relationships linking legislators and private companies. Each year, members of Congress file 'personal financial disclosures' (PFDs), detailed lists of their assets and sources of income, including investments. MapLight has compiled and organized these records into a free, searchable data set that can also be downloaded as a spreadsheet.
We have also refined a subset of the California Secretary of State's raw Cal-Access data into the MapLight California Money and Politics Bulk Data Set for quicker, easier use in analyzing contributions to candidates or ballot measure committees in California. The data set is downloadable and available for free public use.
We work alongside numerous groups who share an interest in transparency and/or political accountability. Most of these groups focus exclusively on tracking or providing public access to various forms of political inputs, such as data sets of campaign contributions or lobbying. Only MapLight is focused on connecting these political inputs to political outputs, such as the outcome of a particular vote, to systematically uncover and publicize instances of special interest influence.
MapLight develops our data, tools, and research services specifically to help journalists and nonprofit groups have public accountability impact. We offer custom research at no cost, provided that the resulting data is used for content that is free to the public.
See the latest news stories featuring MapLight research here.
For the November 2014 election, Voter's Edge covered federal and state-level candidates in all 50 states and statewide ballot measures in every state that has them, greatly simplifying pre-election research for voters across the country. Through a partnership with the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund's Smart Voter, we also covered local candidates and ballot measures for more than 50 California cities and counties. Go to Voter's Edge to get informed about the candidates and ballot measures on your ballot.
Politicash Mobile Phone App
Learn more about the impact MapLight has made so far.