Note About Important Database on Money in State Politics

The following message was forwarded to me via e-mail:

    Dear APSA Organized Section Heads,
    After presenting the Institute on Money in State Politics’ data and analyses to the Southern Political Science
    Association conference in Atlanta earlier this month, I was urged by Michael Malbin of the Campaign Finance
    Institute to alert members of the national association of our information. A further discussion with APSA Executive
    Director Michael Brintnall directed me to the Organized Sections as the best place to touch base with academic
    researchers who would find www.followthemoney.org and its databases most useful.
    My goal in reaching out to you all is twofold: First, many professors and doctoral students have discovered the
    Institute’s comprehensive state-level campaign-finance data and use it extensively. More should. If you think members of your Organized Section would benefit from knowing about the Institute, please let those on your list-servs know about us. And, second, as a 501(C)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit, we’re anxious to build a larger network of influential academics who can add substance to our requests for support from funders.
    Since its formation in 1999, the Institute has been funded by some of the most important foundations in the country:
    Carnegie, Ford, Pew, OSI and more. But many are moving away from campaign-finance research. We hope to stem this trend, with your help.
    By way of background, the Institute has been compiling detailed contributor information — every check written to
    candidates for legislative, gubernatorial and other constitutional offices, political parties and now ballot measure committees, since the 2000 election cycle. We collect reports for all candidates, primary and general
    elections, winners as well as losers. And, in its infancy, the Institute worked as the Money in Western Politics
    Project, which compiled the same data, but only in the eight Northwest states. That comprehensive data dates to
    the 1990 election cycle.
    The Institute’s data is used extensively by reporters from some of the country’s largest newspapers, by attorneys
    defending campaign-reform legislation passed in the states, by activists pursuing numerous issues, and by academics like yourselves whose work is the foundation for much policy work.
    In 2003, the Institute hired the RAND Corporation to review and evaluate its procedures and processes. RAND’s
    endorsement of the Institute and its work is available at http://www.followthemoney.org/Institute/rand.phtml.
    Please consider distributing this missive to yourassociates. The Institute’s data is only meaningful if it is used widely to enhance the debate in this country about the health of our democracy.
    Best,
    Edwin Bender
    Executive Director
    Institute on Money in State Politics
    edwinb@statemoney.org
    www.followthemoney.org

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