Greetings from www.FollowTheMoney.org!
Hello Bill Track 50 users,
My name is Kevin McNellis and I am a researcher at the National Institute on Money in State Politics—the only organization that tracks campaign contributions to state-level candidates, political parties, and ballot measure campaigns in all 50 states. After running into the Bill Track 50 team at the Sunlight Foundation’s Transparency Camp in Washington, D.C., we thought that many of Bill Track 50’s users would be interested in examining the connections between our campaign finance data and specific pieces of legislation you find on Bill Track 50.
Since 2000, the Institute has been collecting contribution reports for every candidate running for legislative and statewide office. as well as state party committees and supreme court races. Along the way, we have also added ballot measure committees (2004), appellate court candidates (2008), lobbyist registrations (2006), independent spending in 22 states (2006), lobbyist expenditures in 5 states (2011), and special elections data (2011). All of this information is available, for free, from our website FollowTheMoney.org.
In order to make sense of the billions of dollars contributed at the state level, the Institute has developed a number of tools to parse and analyze our data. To better analyze legislative committees, I recommend our Legislative Committee Analysis Tool (L-CAT), which organizes our candidate data by legislative committees.* Once you find out which committee is drafting or voting on a bill, simply select the particular committee on the L-CAT page and it produces a list of that committee’s members. From this list, you can either click on each member individually and see each member’s contributions or you can filter the entire committee’s contributions by economic sector.
If you want to analyze our data on a larger scale, use our state overview pages. From each of these pages you can see all of our data for a particular state for each election. From these pages you’ll be able to quickly see who contributed to the state’s candidates, political parties, and ballot measure committees. If you want to quickly analyze our data across state lines, use our national overview map, which quickly displays all of our data for each election.
We encourage you to use our data. All of it is free and downloadable. If you ever run into problems or have further questions, please call us at 406-449-2480. Our research staff is available from 8-5 mountain standard time to assist your use and understanding of our data.
*The committee rosters, gathered by Project Vote Smart, are current as of January 2011.
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