Washington's Other Scandal | frontline online
navigation, see below What you need to know about your candidates

Best place for information on candidates at both State and National Level Project Vote Smart

Here's the kind of information any voter needs! Candidates' biography, voting records,campaign $$ information and performance evaluations. From this one spot you can investigate candidates for President, governor, and national and state legislative positions. One of their most interesting features is a five-page political survey prepared by a bi-partisan board and submitted to all candidates. Returned by 75% of all candidates for office the survey provides an excellent thumbnail sketch of each politician's positions on major issues.

NOTE: Project Vote Smart has a national free hotline number (weekdays from 8am to 9pm EST) with trained research assistants available (1-888-VOTE-SMART) to answer questions about particular candidates. The most complete databases are still best accessed via this hotline number...but Project Vote Smart's web site is expanding all the time.

Center for Responsive Politics

  • Find your Senator/Representative's campaign $$ profiles
  • Look up individual contributors by name, zip code, or employer
  • Track soft money donations of $100,000 or more
  • Track PAC contributions, by company or industry
  • Check out who lobbies for what industry.
    (Or, find out who in your state had a White House Sleepover or Coffee!)

  • National Institute for Money & Politics

    This site offers searchable databases of campaign finance information for state legislative and gubernatorial races - many as far back as 1990. Currently features 24 states; others being added all the time.(Note: CRP (above site) offers info on state races NOT offered by NIMP)

    Annenberg Public Policy Center

    Here's the only site offering detailed information on the explosion of issue advocacy advertising - a loophole in campaign finance regulation. Analyzing ad spending in the fifty largest television markets in the country, they found that more than two dozen organizations engaged in issue advocacy during the 1996 campaign - spending an estimated total of $135 - $150 million. The Annenberg Center continues to track issue ad spending, and plan to release a similar study of 1998 spending patterns. They also offer a variety of other reports of interest on media and politics. Click here to download a copy of their report: "Issue Advocacy Advertising During the 1996 Campaign: A Catalog." To view the report online requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    Common Cause

    Common Cause is the place to come for answers! This site, run by one of the oldest organizations advocating campaign finance reform at the national level, is an excellent place to get up-to-date news of the status of reform efforts in Washington. If you don't know your representive's name, you can simply enter your zip code and learn who represents you and how they are representing you on the issue of campaign finance reform. Other information they deliver: detailed information on soft money's role in recent elections; studies of the role of campaign money on various legislative issues - from tobacco to telecommunications. And information on how you can get involved in reform efforts at the national or state level.

    Public Campaign

    Public Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of special interest money in the electoral process. If you believe public financing of campaigns in exchange for strict spending limits is the right path to reform, this is the site for you. Their web site offers timely information on the status of reform efforts in Washington and in the states. Taking a lead from Senator William Proxmire's Golden Fleece Awards - which highlighted wasteful uses of taxpayer dollars - Public Campaign's site features the Golden Leash Awards - recognizing especially outrageous instances of favors, access or influence purchased with special interest campaign money. The site also offers contact information (both phone and web) for reform activities at the state level.

    Center for Public Integrity

    Created in 1989, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is a nonprofit, non-partisan research organization that focuses on violations of the public trust. Employing the tools of both political science and investigative journalism, the Center functions, in the words of the National Journal, as "a watchdog in the corridors of power." Material available on this site includes background information on Exec. Director Charles Lewis's latest book - "The Buying of Congress" - an in-depth study of what the Center describes as "the acts of grand larceny [that] are being committed on Capitol Hill every day." There's also material from "The Buying of the President," a report on the 1996 candidates for president.

    click here for more helpful sites

    home . checking out the candidates . the money machine . advocacy ads . interviews
    discussion . readings . faqs . synopsis . press reaction . tapes & transcripts
    frontline online . pbs online

    web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation