Open Secrets


Famously instructed to follow the money, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein eventually uncovered Watergate, one of America’s great presidential scandals. Richard Nixon has since disappeared from the political scene. Money has not.

OpenSecrets.org, a nonpartisan website established and maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics, provides a comprehensive database of money spent by politicians and on politicians. This superstore of information ranges from the detailed accounting of how individual politicians raise and distribute funds to the large-picture pecuniary habits of industry groups, political action committees, and statewide populations. Intense scrutiny is also applied to lobbying firms, their enlisters, and the constantly revolving door between private and public sectors. With an accessible search tool and concise tables and graphs, OpenSecrets.org is a valuable resource for the general public; part of its mission is to inform and empower voters. By offering statistical analysis and open methodology, the website caters equally well to researchers and policy wonks.

That money and politics are closely tied should surprise no one. OpenSecrets.org moves beyond this generality with a careful, economic cartography from inside the Beltway.