Center for Responsive Politics
|Motto||Money Talks. We Translate.|
|Founders||Former U.S. Sens. Frank Church and Hugh Scott|
|Focus||Money in politics|
The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) is a non-profit, nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C., that tracks the effects of money and lobbying on elections and public policy. It maintains a public online database of its information.
Its website, OpenSecrets.org, allows users to track federal campaign contributions and lobbying by lobbying firms, individual lobbyists, industry, federal agency, and bills. Other resources include the personal financial disclosures of all members of the U.S. Congress, the president, and top members of the administration. Users can also search by ZIP codes to learn how their neighbors are allocating their political contributions.
CRP 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. It was officially incorporated on February 1, 1984. 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.
In 1996, CRP launched its online counterpart, OpenSecrets.org. The website is a clearinghouse for data and analysis regarding money in politics.
In 2015, the News & Observer published an op-ed by Robert Maguire, the political nonprofits investigator at CRP, that was critical of 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.
Major donors to the Center for Responsive Politics include the Sunlight Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Open Society Institute, 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.
Sheila Krumholz has been the CRP's executive director since December 2006, having previously served for eight years as the CRP's research director. She first joined the organization in 1989 and served as the assistant editor of the first edition of the printed volume Open Secrets. Jennifer Barrett serves as development director, Sarah Bryner serves as research director, and Jacob Hileman serves as information technology director.
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