Federal Campaign Contributions
|Source||Federal Election Commission|
|File Size||Size varies|
|Dates Covered||2012, 2014, 2016 cycles (contact NICAR for data from older election cycles)|
The individual contributions table includes only itemized contributions, meaning those that exceed $200. It can be difficult, therefore, to use this data to find accurate contribution totals per candidate.
The data contains the amount of each contribution given by the individuals and PACs. Some of the fields include the candidates name, party, address and district and the committees name and candidate ID number.
NICAR provides the data in two ways: As a complete data set for each two-year cycle or a cycle subscription that is updated weekly. The updates consist of all of the data since the beginning of the cycle year.
Record layouts and samples of this database
- Campaign finance resources
This tipsheet is basically a list of sources for information about campaign finance. The sources are split into two camps, government and nonprofit sources, and for-profit sources.
- 50 Campaign Finance Stories in 50 Minutes
Overby and Salant provide tips that reporters covering campaign finance can use, along with numerous questions they should ask during the reporting process. They also provide a list of Web sites that are helpful to reporters who are tackling this subject.
- Follow the money trail in politics
Grimaldi lists numerous online resources for campaign finance and lobbying stories and explains how to most successfully utilize FOIA. His tipsheet offers both strategic and tactical advise for money trail stories, from the big questions to the little details.
- Covering Campaign Finance and Money in Politics
The perfect tipsheet for anyone just getting into political finance reporting, or someone who needs a detailed reminder. This six-page tipsheet defines basic terms, shows reporters where to go for more information and provides details on how to research different groups.
- Checking for Illegal Campaign Activity
Hall gives great tips on looking for illegal activities in campaigns in this handout. Some of the advice is common sense, but much of it is useful for new people to the beat and experienced hands as well.
- Money and politics tipsheet
Hamburger provides a comprehensive list of sources for campaign finance information. With this tipsheet you can learn to track contributions to candidates and their parties, chronicle the activities of lobbyists, and find out who is buying ads and in what television market.
- Ten computer-assisted campaign finance stories you can do quickly
Salant lists 10 computer-assisted campaign finance stories you can do quickly from FEC data, including how to determine the biggest givers in your community and where your lawmaker is getting her/his money from. Salant demonstrates what he preaches with the two accompanying articles — one about U.S. Sen. Moynihan and the kinds of PAC contributions he attracts and the other about how business PACs pick their cause.
- Hobson provides energy to get money flowing
This story deals with campaign contributions for Republican Congressman David Hobson. In the first nine months of the last two year election cycle, he raised more than two and a half times the campaign cash he received during the same period in 2001. Numbers grew when he accepted a new chair for Energy and Water appropriations subcommittee. Hobson’s appropriations clout grew 2.7 times with his new chair, meanwhile his campaign contributions increased by 2.6 times in the early going of this election cycle.
- State Secrets: An investigation of political party money in the states
An campaign finance investigation by the Center for Public Integrity revealed, among other things, that the Democratic and Republican state party committees raised $570 million in the 2000 election cycle and that nearly half — 46 percent — of that money came in the form of “soft money” transfers from national party organizations.
- Freshmen-Fund Raising
Jonathan Salant of the Associated Press performed a computer-assisted analysis of PAC contributions to House freshmen, and found that the first-year lawmakers received more money from special interests under the jurisdiction of their committees than they received prior to their election. Using campaign finance disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission and analyses done by the Center for Responsive Politics, the reporter built a database of 37 freshmen House members. It revealed that “all but two of the lawmakers got a larger percentage of their PAC money from the industries and unions under their panel’s jurisdiction than they had received before getting their committee assignments.” Said one source: “Committees are often where the action is.”
- Lobby Watch
The Center for Public Integrity’s Lobbywatch project revealed many important and litte-known facts. Among them are: news organizations report on campaign contributions about ten times more often than they do on federal lobbying even though money from lobbyists to candidates is roughly double what candidates receive from campaign contributions; “almost 20 percent of all lobbying forms are filed late”; nearly 300 lobbyists or lobbying organizations did not register themselves as required by law; foreign companies and governments spent millions to win $15 billion in Defense Department contracts, more than a third of which were no-bid. And there’s much, much more!
- Money and Politics
A year-long investigation into the role of Tennessee campaign contributions in Tennessee politics, and how candidates used these contribution funds. The Times found that candidates filed inaccurate disclosure reports and that there was little to no examination of the documents. They also took a look at Tennessee money in federal elections, and found that local races were not competitive, and that Republicans in particular were funneling contributions to out-of-state candidates.
- Dodd Uses Wall Street ‘Juice’ to Outraise His Rivals
“Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., used his position to raise millions of dollars from the banking industry for his presidential campaign.”
- The McConnell Machine
The Herald-Leader investigates U.S. Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, whose campaign fundraising has reached impressive levels to the tune of $220 million, largely on behalf of fellow Republican senators. As the 2006 mid-term elections approached, McConnell was seen as a likely contender for Senate Majority leader, should the Republicans retain control (they did not, and he is now Senate Minority Leader). Anticipating this news, the Herald-Leader “examined McConnell’s 22-year record of aggressive fundraising, cozy ties with top donors and related actions in the Senate.” The newspaper found that McConnell benefited from his “influence over a little-known foreign aid committee; his marriage to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, who regulates his corporate donors; and a former McConnell chief of staff turned Washington “gatekeeper lobbyist,” whose clients tend to receive appropriations earmarks and helpful legislation from McConnell.” McConnell has gained a reputation as an opponent of campaign-finance reform.
- Uncovering ‘Coingate’: From State of Turmoil to State of Change
In the second year of investigations into corruption in the State of Ohio, a Toledo Blade investigation into investment and corruption scandals takes down a former COP county chairman who channeled illegal contributions through more than 20 conduits into the 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign.