This is part eight in a series of posts that will explore some of the leading organizations from around the country that are engaged in unearthing and combating the influence of money in the political process.

Role in the Landscape tracks the influence of money in the U.S. Congress as well as in California and Wisconsin. Their research team and free online tools shed light on the connections between political inputs (such as campaign contributions) and political outputs (such as legislation). Their data partners include the Center for Responsive Politics, GovTrack, National Institute on Money in State Politics, and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Contact Information
2223 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 868-0894

Executive Director
Daniel Newman

Resources they Provide combines three types of information: campaign finance data, legislative voting data, and support or opposition by interest groups. The entry point for the following resources is:

Legislative data: shows detailed records of bills, votes, and legislators for the U.S. Congress, California, and Wisconsin;

Campaign finance data: provides a search tool that shows campaign contributions for legislators in the U.S. Congress, California, or Wisconsin;

Total contributions: compares campaign contributions from interest groups that support a bill with contributions from interests groups in opposition.

Contributions by vote: based on a specific bill or amendment, this tool correlates interest group contributions with how lawmakers vote.

Organization/industry bill position: shows whether companies, unions, trade associations and non-profit groups support or oppose bills.

Timeline of contributions: shows when campaign contributions were received in relation to a vote.

MapLight Resources in Action

Remote Control Reports: examined all campaign contributions given to members of the U.S. House of Representatives from January 2005 through December 2007 to determine the geographic sources of contributions to each legislator. The report found that, on average, 79% of campaign contributions came from outside of members’ districts;

External websites: an API (application programming interface) is made available for bringing data from to other websites;

All the Foreclosures Money Can Buy

Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) commissioned to provide research for a project titled, “All the Foreclosures Money Can Buy: How Wall Street is Spending Millions to Buy Influence in California.” The data provided eventually became part of the headline of an article in the L.A. Times:

“The $70 million spent in California on lobbying fees and political contributions came at the same time the banks were getting billions in federal taxpayer bailouts to keep them from collapsing.”

The report can be downloaded from:

Money in Politics series

  1. Money in Politics (introduction)
  2. Looking Beyond Campaign Contributions
  3. National Institute On Money In State Politics
  4. Center For Responsive Politics
  5. MOOSE: Monied Out-of-State Executives (case study)
  6. Public Campaign
  7. Common Cause
  9. Sunlight Foundation
  10. Good Jobs First
  11. Disinfecting Banker’s Day on the Hill (case study)
  12. Project Vote Smart
  13. Hitting the Jackpot (case study)
  14. Democracy North Carolina (case study)
  15. Connecticut Citizen Action Group (case study)

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