2 Nonprofits That Track Money in Politics Are Merging

    Government watchdogs, journalists, opposition researchers and the civic-minded have long relied on data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in Politics to help them keep elected officials and the special interests that seek to influence them accountable.

    Now CRP and NIMP, the nation’s two leading money-in-politics data organizations, are joining forces. They announced Wednesday that they are merging into a combined entity called OpenSecrets.

    The merger will create a new one-stop shop for integrated federal, state and local data on campaign finance, lobbying and more.

    “This merger brings together decades of expertise, massive data sets, and the kind of analysis that researchers, journalists, advocates and individuals rely on to understand the influence of spending on politics,” said OpenSecrets Executive Director Sheila Krumholz, who previously led CRP. “At a time when our country is being tested, this is a good day for democracy.”

    For nearly 40 years, CRP has made data and analysis about spending in federal races available to those seeking to unveil and analyze political influence. NIMP has provided similar data and analysis for state politics. Now their work will be combined to provide an unparalleled window on money in American politics.

    “Transparency fuels the accountability that’s necessary to ensure the healthy evolution of our fragile democracy,” said OpenSecrets Executive Advisor Edwin Bender, who previously led NIMP. “Combining our work into a singularly robust and comprehensive tool will be invaluable for helping all of us take the measure of who our elected officials truly represent.”

    The new OpenSecrets website will debut later in 2021. The current URL for CRP (OpenSecrets.org) will be retained and the NIMP website at followthemoney.org will continue to be updated until the new site is launched.

    OpenSecrets said the new website would include:

    • New tools that will let users track and analyze how donors, lobbyists and other forces work to wield influence across federal and state lines.
    • An integrated data-set that encompasses wide-ranging information in one, easily accessible location.
    • Resources for anyone looking to present a broader perspective on the wide-ranging career of a politician or lobbyist.
    • Databases that incorporate racial and gender information.
    • A continuation of CRP’s reporting section, now incorporating stories focused on state-level and local data.
    • A combined response team, ready to answer questions users may have on federal, state and local data.

    Support for the merger review and organizational integration process was provided by the Hewlett Foundation.

    “The foresight and wisdom of the leadership and governing boards of both organizations in seizing the moment to take this step and doing so in a well-planned way that will make the new whole even more valuable than the sum of the parts are exemplary and inspiring,” said Daniel Stid, director of the U.S. Democracy Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.