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OpenSecrets

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OpenSecrets
Founded1983; 40 years ago (1983)[1]
FoundersFrank Church and Hugh Scott
TypeResearch
52-1275227[2]
Legal status501(c)(3)[2]
FocusMoney in politics
Location
Coordinates38°54′13″N 77°01′48″W / 38.9037°N 77.0300°W / 38.9037; -77.0300Coordinates: 38°54′13″N 77°01′48″W / 38.9037°N 77.0300°W / 38.9037; -77.0300
Area served
United States
Bert Brandenburg[3]
Sheila Krumholz[4]
Revenue (2019)
$3,100,295[5]
Expenses (2019)$2,040,645[5]
Employees (2019)
31[5]
Websitewww.opensecrets.org
Formerly called
Center for Responsive Politics and National Institute on Money in Politics

OpenSecrets is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that tracks data on campaign finance and lobbying. It was created from a merger of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) and the National Institute on Money in Politics (NIMP).

History

The Center for Responsive Politics was founded in 1983 by retired U.S. Senators Frank Church of Idaho, of the Democratic Party, and Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, of the Republican Party.[1] It was officially incorporated on February 1, 1984.[6] In the 1980s, Church and Scott launched a "money-in-politics" project, whose outcome consisted of large, printed books. Their first book, published in 1988, analyzed spending patterns in congressional elections from 1974 through 1986, including 1986 soft money contributions in five states. It was titled Spending in Congressional Elections: A Never-Ending Spiral.[7]

In 2021, the CRP announced its merger with the National Institute on Money in Politics. The combined organization is known as OpenSecrets. The merger was funded by the Hewlett Foundation.[8]

National Institute on Money in Politics

The National Institute on Money in Politics was an American nonprofit organization that tracked campaign finance data.[9] The organization published the Follow The Money website, where it compiled political funding information from government disclosure agencies.[10] The Institute advocated for stricter regulation of political donations, including increased disclosure of political spending.[11] The Institute believed that states should require independent political spenders to disclose all information about election-related communications.[12]

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Frank Church

Frank Church

Frank Forrester Church III was an American politician and lawyer. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a United States senator from Idaho from 1957 until his defeat in 1980. As of 2022, he is the longest serving Democratic senator from the state and the only Democrat from the state who has served more than two terms in the Senate. He was a prominent figure in American foreign policy, and established a reputation as a member of the party's liberal wing.

Idaho

Idaho

Idaho is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. To the north, it shares a small portion of the Canada–United States border with the province of British Columbia. It borders the states of Montana and Wyoming to the east, Nevada and Utah to the south, and Washington and Oregon to the west. The state's capital and largest city is Boise. With an area of 83,570 square miles (216,400 km2), Idaho is the 14th largest state by land area, but with a population of approximately 1.8 million, it ranks as the 13th least populous and the 7th least densely populated of the 50 U.S. states.

Democratic Party (United States)

Democratic Party (United States)

The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States. Founded in 1828, it was predominantly built by Martin Van Buren, who assembled politicians in every state behind war hero Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party. Its main political rival has been the Republican Party since the 1850s, with both parties being big tents of competing and often opposing viewpoints. Modern American liberalism — a variant of social liberalism — is the party's majority ideology. The party also has notable centrist, social democratic, and left-libertarian factions.

Hugh Scott

Hugh Scott

Hugh Doggett Scott Jr. was an American politician. A member of the Republican Party, he represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1959 and in the U.S. Senate, from 1959 to 1977. He served as Senate Minority Leader from 1969 to 1977.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state spanning the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, Appalachian, and Great Lakes regions of the United States. Pennsylvania borders Delaware to its southeast, Maryland to its south, West Virginia to its southwest, Ohio to its west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to its northwest, New York state to its north, and the Delaware River and New Jersey to its east.

Republican Party (United States)

Republican Party (United States)

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States. The GOP was founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists who opposed the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery into the western territories. It has been the main political rival of the Democratic Party since the mid-1850s. Like them, the Republican Party is a big tent of competing and often opposing ideologies. Presently, the Republican Party contains prominent conservative, centrist, populist, and right-libertarian factions.

Hewlett Foundation

Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, commonly known as the Hewlett Foundation, is a private foundation, established by Hewlett-Packard cofounder William Redington Hewlett and his wife Flora Lamson Hewlett in 1966. The Hewlett Foundation awards grants to a variety of liberal and progressive causes.

Campaign finance in the United States

Campaign finance in the United States

The financing of electoral campaigns in the United States happens at the federal, state, and local levels by contributions from individuals, corporations, political action committees, and sometimes the government. Campaign spending has risen steadily at least since 1990.

Activities

In 1996, CRP launched its online counterpart, OpenSecrets.org.[1]

CRP hosts a revolving door database which documents the individuals who have passed between the public sector and K Street.[13]

In 2015, The News & Observer published an op-ed by Robert Maguire, the political nonprofits investigator at CRP, that was critical of Carolina Rising, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization (i.e. an organization considered by the IRS to operate exclusively for the promotion of social welfare) for spending $4.7 million in 2014 on political ads in support of Thom Tillis, Senate candidate from North Carolina.[14]

CRP reported that President Trump's re-election campaign was financially related to the rally that occurred on January 6, 2021 preceding the 2021 United States Capitol attack.[15]

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Revolving door (politics)

Revolving door (politics)

In politics, a revolving door is a situation in which personnel move between roles as legislators and regulators, on one hand, and members of the industries affected by the legislation and regulation, on the other, analogous to the movement of people in a physical revolving door.

Lobbying in the United States

Lobbying in the United States

Lobbying in the United States describes paid activity in which special interest groups hire well-connected professional advocates, often lawyers, to argue for specific legislation in decision-making bodies such as the United States Congress. It is a highly controversial phenomenon, often seen in a negative light by journalists and the American public, with some critics describing it as a legal form of bribery, influence peddling, and/or extortion. While lobbying is subject to extensive and often complex rules which, if not followed, can lead to penalties including jail, the activity of lobbying has been interpreted by court rulings as constitutionally protected free speech and a way to petition the government for the redress of grievances, two of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. Since the 1970s, lobbying activity has grown immensely in the United States in terms of the numbers of lobbyists and the size of lobbying budgets, and has become the focus of much criticism of American governance.

The News & Observer

The News & Observer

The News & Observer is an American regional daily newspaper that serves the greater Triangle area based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The paper is the largest in circulation in the state. The paper has been awarded three Pulitzer Prizes; the most recent of which was in 1996 for a series on the health and environmental impact of North Carolina's booming hog industry. The paper was one of the first in the world to launch an online version of the publication, Nando.net in 1994.

Op-ed

Op-ed

An op-ed, is a written prose piece, typically published by an English-language North-American newspaper or magazine, which usually expresses the opinion of an author or entity not affiliated with the publication's editorial board. In 2021, The New York Times—the paper credited with developing and naming the modern op-ed page—announced that it was retiring the label, and would instead call submitted opinion pieces "Guest Essays."

Thom Tillis

Thom Tillis

Thomas Roland Tillis is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from North Carolina, a seat he has held since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, Tillis served in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015, and as its speaker from 2011 to 2015.

North Carolina

North Carolina

North Carolina is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. The state is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. In the 2020 census, the state had a population of 10,439,388. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with a population of 2,595,027 in 2020, is the most-populous metropolitan area in North Carolina, the 21st-most populous in the United States, and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City. The Raleigh-Durham-Cary combined statistical area is the second-largest metropolitan area in the state and 32nd-most populous in the United States, with a population of 2,043,867 in 2020, and is home to the largest research park in the United States, Research Triangle Park.

Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign

Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign

Incumbent Republican Donald Trump led an unsuccessful campaign for the 2020 United States presidential election. He was inaugurated for his first term on January 20, 2017, and officially announced his reelection campaign on June 18, 2019.

Funding

Major donors to the Center for Responsive Politics include the Sunlight Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Open Society Foundations, the Joyce Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. At the end of 2017, the organization reported $1.44 million in annual revenue and $2.92 million in net assets.[16]

Funders of the National Institute on Money in Politics included the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bauman Foundation, and the Sunlight Foundation.[17][18]

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Sunlight Foundation

Sunlight Foundation

The Sunlight Foundation was an American 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocated for open government. The organization was founded in April 2006 with the goal of increasing transparency and accountability in the United States Congress, the executive branch, and in state and local governments. The foundation's primary focus was the role of money in politics. The organization sought to increase campaign finance regulations and disclosure requirements. The Sunlight Foundation ceased operations in September 2020.

The Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), founded in 1948.

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York

The Carnegie Corporation of New York is a philanthropic fund established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to support education programs across the United States, and later the world. Carnegie Corporation has endowed or otherwise helped to establish institutions that include the United States National Research Council, what was then the Russian Research Center at Harvard University, the Carnegie libraries and the Children's Television Workshop. It also for many years funded Carnegie's other philanthropic organizations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT), and the Carnegie Institution for Science (CIS). According to the OECD, Carnegie Corporation of New York's financing for 2019 development increased by 27% to US$24 million.

Open Society Foundations

Open Society Foundations

Open Society Foundations (OSF), formerly the Open Society Institute, is a grantmaking network founded and chaired by business magnate George Soros. Open Society Foundations financially supports civil society groups around the world, with a stated aim of advancing justice, education, public health and independent media. The group's name was inspired by Karl Popper's 1945 book The Open Society and Its Enemies.

Joyce Foundation

Joyce Foundation

The Joyce Foundation is a non-operating private foundation based in Chicago, Illinois. As of 2021, it had assets of approximately $1.1 billion and distributes $50 million in grants per year and primarily funds organizations in the Great Lakes region.

Ford Foundation

Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an American private foundation with the stated goal of advancing human welfare. Created in 1936 by Edsel Ford and his father Henry Ford, it was originally funded by a US$25,000 gift from Edsel Ford. By 1947, after the death of the two founders, the foundation owned 90% of the non-voting shares of the Ford Motor Company. Between 1955 and 1974, the foundation sold its Ford Motor Company holdings and now plays no role in the automobile company.

MacArthur Foundation

MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private foundation that makes grants and impact investments to support non-profit organizations in approximately 50 countries around the world. It has an endowment of $7.0 billion and provides approximately $260 million annually in grants and impact investments. It is based in Chicago, and in 2014 it was the 12th-largest private foundation in the United States. It has awarded more than US$6.8 billion since its first grants in 1978.

Rockefeller Foundation

Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is an American private foundation and philanthropic medical research and arts funding organization based at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The second-oldest major philanthropic institution in America, after the Carnegie Corporation, the foundation was ranked as the 39th largest U.S. foundation by total giving as of 2015. By the end of 2016, assets were tallied at $4.1 billion, with annual grants of $173 million. According to the OECD, the foundation provided US$103.8 million for development in 2019. The foundation has given more than $14 billion in current dollars.

Staff

Sheila Krumholz has been the organization's executive director since December 2006, having previously served as the group's research director. She joined the organization in 1989.[4]

Source: "OpenSecrets", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 10th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenSecrets.

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References
  1. ^ a b c Harvey, Kerric (2013). Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. Sage Publications. p. 252. ISBN 9781452290263.
  2. ^ a b "Center for Responsive Politics". Tax Exempt Organization Search. Internal Revenue Search. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "OpenSecrets: Board of Directors". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "OpenSecrets: Our Team". Center for Responsive Politics. December 3, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "Center for Responsive Politics". Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Guidestar. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  6. ^ "Center for Responsive Politics". Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Government of the District of Columbia. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  7. ^ "Suggested Background Reading". CampaignFinance.org. Campaign Finance Information Center. August 22, 2017. Archived from the original on August 22, 2017.}
  8. ^ Drake, Philip (June 3, 2021). "Helena-based political transparency group merges with another watchdog". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  9. ^ O'Connor, Maura (April 3, 2012). "National Institute on Money in State Politics". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  10. ^ Suderman, Alan (May 16, 2014). "Lax state rules provide cover for sponsors of attack ads". Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  11. ^ Farnam, T.W. (January 23, 2013). "Florida group wants to end caps on campaign donations". Washington Post. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "Money in State Politics report: Minnesota fails disclosure test, again". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. December 3, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  13. ^ Wiist, William (2010). The Bottom Line or Public Health: Tactics Corporations Use to Influence Health and Health Policy, and What We Can Do to Counter Them. Oxford University Press. p. 149. ISBN 9780199704927.
  14. ^ Maguire, Robert (October 27, 2015). "Carolina Rising offers new low in campaign finance". The News & Observer.
  15. ^ Fung, Katherine (January 22, 2021). "Trump rally organizers received millions from re-election campaign before Capitol riot". Newsweek. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  16. ^ "Center for Responsive Politics" (PDF). Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Guidestar. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  17. ^ "Our Funders". National Institute on Money in State Politics. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  18. ^ Pero, Dan (October 6, 2011). "Soros vs. American courts". Washington Times. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
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