|Merger of||Center for Responsive Politics|
National Institute on Money in Politics
|Focus||Campaign finance in the United States|
|Sheila Krumholz (2006-present)|
OpenSecrets is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that tracks data on campaign finance and lobbying. It was created from the 2021 merger of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) and the National Institute on Money in Politics (NIMP), both of which were organizations that tracked data on campaign finance in the United States and advocated for stricter regulation and disclosure of political donations.
The organization is funded by donations; since 2020, the largest donors have been: the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Democracy Fund, the Gaia Fund, Google, the Hewlett Foundation, the Kaphan Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundations, the Popplestone Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
In 2021, the organization reported $6.5 million in revenue and $3.5 million in salaries and fundraising expenses. It had $5.2 million in net assets as of December 31, 2021.
Center for Responsive Politics
The Center for Responsive Politics 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. In the 1980s, Church and Scott launched a "money-in-politics" project, whose outcome consisted of large, printed books. Their first book, Spending in Congressional Elections: A Never-Ending Spiral, published in 1988, analyzed spending patterns in congressional elections from 1974 through 1986, including 1986 soft money contributions in five states. The first data was published by CRP in 1990 and the website OpenSecrets.org was launched in 1996, making the data more readily available.
National Institute on Money in Politics
The National Institute on Money in Politics traces its roots to the "Money in Western Politics" project launched in 1991 and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. Prior to 1991, data was not digitized and therefore was not easily available. In 1999, three regional teams merged to form NIMP, based in Helena, Montana. The organization published the Follow The Money website, where it compiled political funding information from government disclosure agencies.
According to its tax filings, "Opensecrets is the leading research organization tracking monies and its effects on state and federal elections and public policy. The organization's non partisan work is aimed at creating a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more responsive and accountable government."
In 2015, The News & Observer published an op-ed by Robert Maguire, the political nonprofits investigator at CRP, that was critical of Carolina Rising, 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.
Sheila Krumholz has been the executive director since December 2006, having previously served as research director. She joined the organization in 1989. She will leave the position at the end of 2023.
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