Watchdog Groups Detail Political Campaign Contributions in Ways Never Before Documented

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Dave Levinthal, 202-354-0111 (CRP); Edwin Bender, 406-449-2480 (National Institute on Money in State Politics)

Center for Responsive Politics

Watchdog Groups Detail Political Campaign Contributions in Ways Never Before Documented

WASHINGTON - Thousands of U.S.
companies and special interest groups attempt to influence
government through campaign donations in ways never before
documented, a joint project by two of the nation's premier
government watchdog groups now
reveals.

The project,
conducted by the National
Institute on Money in State Politics
and the Center for Responsive
Politics
, also provides an unprecedented resource: Profiles of
these organizations' political giving patterns during the 2008
election at both the state and national
level.

The "Top National Donors"
project integrates the Institute's state contributions data with the
Center for Responsive Politics' federal contributions data -
something never before
accomplished.

"Innovative policy ideas
often flow between the states and the U.S. Congress. For the first
time ever, this resource is available and will allow users to see
who is trying to exert influence on multiple levels," said Edwin
Bender, executive director of the National Institute on Money in
State
Politics.

"Whether you're a
reporter, activist or ordinary citizen, this data mash-up allows you
to explore the extent to which specific interests may be battling
over policy armed with political I.O.U.s," said Sheila Krumholz,
executive director of the Center for Responsive
Politics.

It reveals, for example,
that companies and organizations with piqued interest in the federal
debate over health care reform are at the same time attempting to
bend state-level lawmakers to their corporate and special interests
on the same
topic.

The CRP/Institute study
uncovers that several historically active federal-level campaign
donors also gave a collective $15.1 million to campaigns in 47
states. They include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pfizer, American
Medical Association, American Hospital Association, Blue Cross/Blue
Shield, AARP and Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of
America.

While plenty of large,
nationally notable companies and organizations top the list -
National Education Association, Service Employees International
Union, AT&T - others prove less
renowned.

The Pechanga Band of
Mission Indians and Clean Energy Fuels Corp., for example, also rank
highly, in large part because of their state-level ballot measure
activity.

These and a host of other
results are available online in a publicly
accessible
database
.

State donors were selected
by their total contributions to state-level candidates, party
committees and state ballot initiatives during the 2008 election
cycle. Federal donors were selected by their total contributions to
federal candidates, leadership PACs and party committees in the 2008
election cycle. The totals listed for an organization include
contributions from its PACs, employees and
subsidiaries.

This unique data
mash-up
is funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation. The work forms
the foundation for expanded independent investigation of nationwide
influence-peddling
trends.

###

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS

The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The nonpartisan, nonprofit Center aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more responsive government. CRP's award-winning website, OpenSecrets.org, is the most comprehensive resource for campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis available anywhere. CRP relies on support from a combination of foundation grants and individual contributions. The Center accepts no contributions from businesses, labor unions or trade associations.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR MONEY IN STATE POLITICS

The National Institute for Money in State Politics is the only nonpartisan, nonprofit organization revealing the influence of campaign money on state-level elections and public policy in all 50 states. Its comprehensive and verifiable campaign-finance database and relevant issue analyses are available for free through its website, FollowTheMoney.org.

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