Find Out Who Donated to a Political Campaign Using These Tools
One way to quietly learn more about someone’s policies and issues they really care about is to find out which campaigns they have supported financially. Sometimes you will find unexpected surprises or find out that someone is not always investing money only in party affiliation. Or you may find that a values organization votes differently with its dollars .
If you want to know if (and how much) your family member, neighbor, employer, or favorite company has contributed to support various political candidates, you can easily find this information by searching publicly available financial disclosure reports.
Here are the best tools for the job.
How to track donations to national campaigns
All candidates for the Senate, House of Representatives, and the President (and any committees that are authorized to raise money for them) must report campaign donations to the Federal Election Commission.
FEC has a searchable donor database that allows you to browse donors by recipient or contributor and further narrow the results by zip code, donor’s business, donation amount, etc.
However, studying the FEC reports can seem a little tedious. Another, more manageable option is the nonprofit, non-partisan Responsive Politics Center, which tracks money in elections and politics in the United States and compiles detailed reports on the spending of lobbyists, political action committees (PACs), constituencies and other donors.
The OpenSecrets.org Center website has a searchable campaign donation database that lets you know which campaigns or candidates a donor has participated in. You can also use the advanced search option to sort by recipient or narrow your results by campaign cycle and donor home status.
Another way to view content is with the Get Local Center app ! tool . Select a candidate status from the drop-down menu, then use the tabs to view reports by donor, candidate, metro area, and more. The same tool has a zip code search to narrow down the donation list to your area.
How to Track Government and Local Campaign Donations
FEC and OpenSecrets.org only track federal campaigns and candidates (although you can also use them to view donations to political parties and PACs). If you want to know who made a donation to a state or local county campaign, you need to go to the National Institute for Money in Politics.
Use of the website NIMP , FollowTheMoney.org , not as intuitively obvious , but there are several ways to browse and search. One of them is to scroll down to the map and select the state you are interested in; This will open a new tab with an overview of the state, and from there you can select the type of office (for example, governor) to narrow down the details of donations for specific races.
Another option is to scroll down the map to the Tools section and use the drop-down menus to select your state and election cycle. Finally, try typing a name in the main search bar – this will show the person’s contribution and, if they are also a candidate, give details of the money they received.
If you cannot find what you are looking for on FollowTheMoney, you can go directly to your state’s campaign finance website or the election administration website to search the disclosure forms.
There are also government agencies like the Virginia Public Access Project that track money in local elections. A quick Google search for “Campaign Disclosure [status]” should help you track down these groups, if they exist in your area.