Center for Responsive Politics
The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) is a non-profit
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

, nonpartisan
In political science, nonpartisan denotes an election, event, organization or person in which there is no formally declared association with a political party affiliation....

 research group based in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 that tracks money in politics and the effect of money and lobbying
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or...

 activity on elections and public policy and maintains a public online database of its information.

Their database allow Web users to track federal campaign contributions and lobbying activity in a variety of ways, such as by industry and interest group. Other resources include the personal financial disclosures of every member of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, the president and top members of the administration. Users can also search by ZIP code
ZIP Code
ZIP codes are a system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service since 1963. The term ZIP, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, is properly written in capital letters and was chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently, and therefore more quickly, when senders use the...

s to learn how their neighbors are allocating their political contributions.


Founded in 1983, the Center aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more responsive government. The Center was founded in 1983 by retired U.S. Senators Frank Church
Frank Church
Frank Forrester Church III was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a United States Senator from Idaho from 1957 to 1981....

 of Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

 (a Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

) and Hugh Scott
Hugh Scott
Hugh Doggett Scott, Jr. was a politician from Pennsylvania who served in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, and who also served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.- Early life :He was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on November 11, 1900...

 of Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 (a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

), and for more than a decade published its work tracking money in politics and its effect on elections and public policy in extensive reports and books. The first Open Secrets book, published in 1990, was a massive 1,300 pages and analyzed contributions by political action committees in the 1988 congressional elections., first launched in 1996, is the online incarnation of the Open Secrets money-in-politics project the center launched in the 1980s, which was contained in large, printed books. The Center's website,, has won four Webby Awards (2001, 2002, 2006, 2007) for being the best politics site online. In 2010, was named a Webby Official Honoree.

Recent projects

During the middle of the 2000s, the Center created a Revolving Door database that tracks former federal government officials that become lobbyists, and vice versa. Also established: a comprehensive database on federal lawmakers' personal finances, a database of political action committee
Political action committee
In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a...

 money and campaign finance profiles of more than 120 business industries. In 2009, the center co-released several comprehensive studies. They including a project database linking federal earmarks to lobbying expenditures and a database detailing both the state and federal campaign donation activities of thousands of corporations and special interest groups. In 2010, the Center produced an extensive section tracking the expenditures of outside organizations attempting to influence federal political races. The Center also maintains a project, created jointly with nonpartisan organization Taxpayers for Common Sense, that tracks campaign contributions and lobbying activity of organizations and entities receiving federal earmarks.


The OpenSecrets Blog is the Center's home for original journalism, as written by a small staff of reporters. In 2010, published more than 600 articles on a range of topics related to political influence and money in politics, including two lengthy series about the oil and gas industry and the 2010 midterm elections. The rise of independent political spending, the demise of self-funded candidates and an increase in federal lobbying activities were also frequent themes. Numerous other reports made national news, including pieces about journalists' political donation habits, an internal JPMorgan Chase memo detailing the company's political outlook and the personal finances of federal lawmakers. American University in Washington, D.C., named to its 2010 list of organizations that compose the nation's "new journalism ecosystem." reporters also broke several national news stories in 2009, such as an investigation into the political donation patterns of NFL football teams and analysis of how local and state governments use taxpayer money to lobby the federal government. The information within two weeks-long reporting projects—one focusing on federal health care reform
Health care reform
Health care reform is a general rubric used for discussing major health policy creation or changes—for the most part, governmental policy that affects health care delivery in a given place...

 and another on financial reform -- have been cited in the press dozens of times throughout 2009 and 2010. In 2009, Project Censored
Project Censored
Project Censored is a non-profit, media criticism and investigative journalism project within the Sonoma State University Foundation. It is managed through the School of Social Sciences at the university....

 honored the OpenSecrets Blog for covering what it considers three of the 25 most underreported news stories that year.


Support for the Center comes from a combination of foundation grants, individual contributions and payments from custom research requests. Major donors to the Center include the Sunlight Foundation
Sunlight Foundation
The Sunlight Foundation is a 501 educational organization founded in April 2006 with the goal of increasing transparency and accountability in the United States government....

, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York, which was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding," is one of the oldest, largest and most influential of American foundations...

, Open Society Institute
Open Society Institute
The Open Society Institute , renamed in 2011 to Open Society Foundations, is a private operating and grantmaking foundation started by George Soros, aimed to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform...

, the Joyce Foundation
Joyce Foundation
The Joyce Foundation is a charitable foundation based in Chicago in the United States and operating principally in the Great Lakes region.The Foundation primarily funds organizations in the Great Lakes region .-Programs:* Education: Focuses on public schools in Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee;...

, and the Ford Foundation
Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is a private foundation incorporated in Michigan and based in New York City created to fund programs that were chartered in 1936 by Edsel Ford and Henry Ford....

. The Center accepts no contributions from businesses, trade associations or labor unions. According to the organization's 990 form, in 2007, it had just over $1 million in revenue and net assets of $1.6 million.


Sheila Krumholz has been the Center's executive director since December 2006, having served for eight years as the Center's research director. She first joined the Center's staff in 1989 and was assistant editor of the first edition of the printed volume of Open Secrets.

Information Technology Director Susan Alger and current Research Director Jihan Andoni have both worked for the Center since 1999. Communications Director Dave Levinthal, who serves as the Center's spokesman and edits the OpenSecrets Blog, joined in 2009 after working for seven years as a political reporter at The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Morning News is the major daily newspaper serving the Dallas, Texas area, with a circulation of 264,459 subscribers, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported in September 2010...


Krumholz and Levinthal regularly appear as commentators and analysts on national news networks and programs, including CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, Fox News, MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

, National Public Radio, Democracy Now!
Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

, and the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

. Hundreds of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

, have also cited the Center's data and quoted its directors. On October 30, 2007, the Center's former communications director, Massie Ritsch, was featured on the Colbert Report.

External links

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