IRE/NICAR Tipsheet No. 98

Basic Resources For Campaign Finance Stories
By: Chuck Babcock

Campaign Money: The Federal Election Commission, office of public records, 999 E St. NW, Washington, (202) 219-4140; The Center for Responsive Politics, and the affiliated National Library on Money and Politics (202) 857-0044.

Personal Money: Each member of Congress, most senior member of their staffs, and executive branch officials have to file annual personal financial disclosure statements by May 25 for the preceding year. The Clerk of the House (202-225-1300) and the Senate's office of public records (202-224-0762) keep six years worth of the filings. (The House also prints them up so they are available back to 1979).

Experts: Besides the above sources, several attorneys and academics are usually willing to answer technical questions about the campaign laws and/or be quoted on issues about money and politics and ethics. This is by no means a comprehensive sample.

(all numbers area code 202 unless another listed)

  • Herb Alexander - USC prof, presidential money, (213) 743-5211
  • Jan Baran - Republican Party lawyer, 429-7330
  • Robert Bauer - Democratic Party Attorney, 434-1602
  • Kent Cooper - Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics, 857-0044
  • Chuck Lewis - Executive Director, Center for Public Integrity, 783-3900
  • Kenneth A. Gross - former FEC enforcement counsel, 371-7007
  • Michael Josephson - ethics institute, (213) 306-1868
  • David Magleby - Brigham Young University, (801) 378-3432
  • Thomas Mann - Brookings Institute, 797-6050
  • Fred Wertheimer - Common Cause, 833-1200

  • Favorite Tip - There are many ways a special interest group can help a politician. So when looking at a public official, look at all his/her money, personal finances, favorite charity, real estate holdings (which often don't have to be reported on a financial disclosure statement) as well as campaign money. There may be connections there worth exploring. Good hunting.

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