Social Science Research Institutes

National Institute on Money in State Politics

  • Helena, MT
  • www.FollowTheMoney.org

Mission Statement

The National Institute on 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. Our
comprehensive and verifiable campaign-finance database and relevant
issue analyses are available for free through our Web site
FollowTheMoney.org. We encourage transparency and promote independent
investigation of state-level campaign contributions by journalists,
academic researchers, public-interest groups, government agencies,
policymakers, students and the public at large.

Main Programs

  1. Naming Names in All 50 States
  2. Institute Reports
  3. Blog and Social Media
  4. Industry Influence
  5. Custom Research

service areas

National

Self-reported by organization

ruling year

1999

chief executive

Mr. Edwin Bender

Self-reported by organization

Keywords

accountability, elections, campaign finance, candidate, public policy, transparency, ethics, state government, follow the money, money in politics, elections, politics, campaign contributions

Self-reported by organization

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EIN

81-0526651

Physical Address

833 N Last Chance Gulch

Helena, 59601

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (V05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (R05)

Citizen Participation (W24)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

The Institute was cited on average twice a day in 2011-12, and the Institute's data has been cited in three prominent U.S. Supreme Court cases: Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal, 2009; Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right To Life, 2007; Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010.

 
In addition to finalizing the political contributions database for 2011 ($575 million), this past year we:

created a baseline for comparing pre- and post-Citizens United independent spending

completed a pilot project to collect lobbying expenditures

assessed the campaign finance reporting systems for lower court candidates

documented the impact of Super PAC contributors on state races

analyzed money and incumbency

examined at monetary competitiveness

suggested best practices for disclosure of independent spending

Programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Naming Names in All 50 States

Who contributes to state campaigns? Who lobbies for whom?

Category

Social Science Research

Budget

Population Served

Program 2

Institute Reports

Researchers examine campaign finance trends and anomalies, independent spending, judicial races, newsmakers.

Category

Social Science Research

Budget

Population Served

Program 3

Blog and Social Media

Timely, relevant updates on state-level races.

Category

Social Science Research

Budget

Population Served

Program 4

Industry Influence

Learn which industries give to candidates who will make policy decisions about those industries.

Category

Social Science Research

Budget

Population Served

Program 5

Custom Research

Customized summaries and membership development.

Category

Social Science Research

Budget

Population Served

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    To promote and invigorate a bi-partisan debate about the influence of special interest campaign money in all 50-state elections and in public policy decisions.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    The Institute will continue to provide a unique, single-site, verifiable campaign-finance database of 26,000,000 records covering a 12-year election history, from 2000 forward. For each 2-year set of state elections, the Institute collects over 100,000 reports filed by candidates for state legislatures, high and appellate court judicial candidates and other statewide elected officials such as political party committees and ballot measure committees. As the Institute expands the scope of research to include independent spending and lobbying expenditures, additional information is added to the database.

    The Institute’s experienced staff will continue to work collaboratively with funding partners to expand the depth and scope of the data collection.

    The data will continue to be made available, for free, to encourage transparency and promote independent investigation by journalists, academic researchers, public-interest groups, government agencies, policymakers, students and the public at large.

    In order to increase transparency in city and county elections, the Institute is launching a local data portal at followthemoney.org. The Institute will “seed” the site with data from cities on the cutting edge of disclosure including Los Angeles, CA and New York City, N.Y. Importantly, to expand the public’s access, the Institute’s new portal will allow anyone to upload their local elections database.
    Improve data search tools and create tutorials to assist researchers.

    Continue publishing reports on how campaign contributions correlate with important policy decisions.
    Increase the use of the NIMSP website and the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers and blog visitors through outreach to user groups, policy groups, community reporters, public access stations, etc.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The Institute forges the tools needed to make a difference in 21st century policy battles: accurate and complete data, tools for investigative journalism, and a strong focus on government transparency and accountability. No matter the issue, the Institute’s decade of 50-state political contribution records and its identification of over 100,000 lobbyists and clients registered with the states each year, and its independent spending and lobbying expenditure data – combine to provide powerful background information on lawmakers debating public policy in legislative sessions. To ensure the resources are effectively used, we reach out to journalists, policy groups, scholars, and legal advocates navigating a variety of complex issues.



    National Advisors and Officers Convening. The Institute’s most significant outreach effort is the annual formation and convening of national advisors and foundation officers uniquely matched to topics for intensive roundtable discussions. Presenters pose solutions to challenges to elections, judicial independence, government and corporate accountability, investigative journalism, and civic engagement.


    The Institute conducts a 5-day annual convening of over 50 national advisors, foundation officers and board members that reviews the Institute’s activities and determines priorities and needs for the coming year.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The Institute uses the following benchmarks to measure progress and success:

    An increase in the number of visitors to published results and website pages viewed (new users made 81% of documented visits during 2012);

    An increase in the number of traditional media citations that refer to the Institute or to its projects (287 articles in 2012);

    An increase in the number of research activities citing our data;

    An increase in the number of unique visits to the Institute’s Facebook pages(increased 50% in 2012), Twitter feeds (increased 50% in 2012) and blogs ;

    An increase in the number of requests for “expert witness testimony” in civil court cases;

    Adding $275,000 to the Institute’s cash reserves by increasing earned revenue income and other non-foundation income.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    The Fall of 2013 will showcase the Institute’s new website that “puts the user in the driver’s seat”:

    The Legislative Committee Analysis Tool (L-CAT) identifies the members of all 500+ state legislative committees. This tool gives an instant view of the political contributions of each committee member or of each committee as a whole.

    A Lobbying Expenditures database (beginning with the year 2006)has been created. It identifies all 100,000+ state registered lobbying interests

    The “My District” function allows a visitor to enter a home address and pull up the contribution records for their roster of state candidates and ballot measures.

    We need to complete a two-year effort to increase outreach activities:
    Outreach to advocates and policy groups;
    Tutorials to assist users of our website databases;
    A fellowship program to train journalists and researchers;
    An expanded effort to produce and disseminate public service announcements aimed at voters;
    Development of more extensive mobile apps

service areas

National

Self-reported by organization

Blog

The organization's Blog

Social Media

@https://www.facebook.com/FollowTheMoney.org?

@MoneyInPolitics

Funding Needs

Contributions; Grants

photos




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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON MONEY IN STATE POLITICS
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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  • Board Chair and Board Members
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

National Institute on Money in State Politics

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR FISCAL YEAR

Mr. Edwin Bender

BIO

A founding incorporator for the Institute, Edwin Bender was named Executive Director in 2003, and also serves on its board of directors.  He coordinates organizational policy-making, serves as spokesperson, and provides financial oversight in addition to his key role in fundraising.  Ed has assigned priority to speeding online posting of contribution records, developing projects in partnership with academic researchers and other organizations, and increasing training and technical assistance to website user groups.  A graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism, he was an award-winning reporter and editor at newspapers in Montana, Alaska and Washington.

STATEMENT FROM THE CEO

""Every election cycle around 16,000 candidates run for office. We collect hundreds of thousands of reports, generate over 3 million records and code more than $3 billion in campaign contributions. It is very difficult, in a word, a nightmare.  What started as a one-year project ten years ago has since become an indispensable and comprehensive resource for the public. We hope to create a citizen army that is really interested in tracking legislators and holding them accountable, which in turn will create a more responsive government."

 

Edwin Bender-Executive Director (2012)"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Bert Brandenburg

Justice At Stake Campaign

Term: June 2011 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?