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Center for Responsive Politics: Public Watchdog Profile
|Mission||“[T]o produce and disseminate peerless data and analysis on money in politics to inform and engage Americans, champion transparency, and expose disproportionate or undue influence on public policy.”|
|Financial data (2019)|
Total Assets: $3,352,436 ($3.35 million)
Total Expenses: $479,616
Net assets: $2,872,820 ($2.87 million)
|Current president||Sheila Krumholz|
What is the Center for Responsive Politics?
The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) refers to a Washington, D.C-based 501(c)(3) charitable/nonprofit organization that tracks money in U.S. politics and researches its effects on elections and public policy.
The research group gathers, compiles, and publishes comprehensive data on the whole swath of money in politics: campaign financing, political contributions, lobbyist spending, the personal finances of government officials, “dark money,” and much more. Anybody with a device and internet can access most, if not all, of the Center for Responsive Politics databases for free.
Following the 1996 elections, the organization launched its website, OpenSecrets.org. The website features the group’s past and ongoing work, as well as other supplementary resources such as a database tracking the ‘revolving door’ (where lobbyists and government officials essentially switch jobs).
Megacorporations and their lobbyists could be heavily influencing legislation and regulation. Do your part and protect the U.S. economy by joining the Zero Theft Movement.
The History of Center for Responsive Politics
The Center for Responsive Politics actually began over a decade before the launch of OpenSecrets. In 1983, Senators Frank Church (D-Idaho) and Hugh Scott (R-Pa.) came together to publish reports and books documenting money in politics.
Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho)
(Image source: U.S. Senate website)
Senator Hugh Scott (R-Pa.)
(Image source: the U.S. Senate website)
According to the research group, Church and Scott released the first Open Secrets book in 1990. Their unprecedented work analyzed contributions from political action committees during the 1988 congressional elections, and included contributor profiles for every Congress member.
The book rivaled the Bible in length, spanning 1,300 pages.
Open Secrets also profiled the spending patterns of interest groups and major industries, and included an extensive “Big Picture” section on the patterns of PAC spending and the flow of PAC dollars to each congressional committee. The second edition of Open Secrets, published in 1992, added an analysis of large individual donations – a mammoth task that had never before been attempted.
The Center for American Progress estimates that the federal government can save between $25 billion and $54 billion per year in inefficient procurement. If legislators have not made a good faith effort to reduce its wasteful spending on government contracts, do you think the public’s getting ripped off? See what the ZT community is saying on the matter…
The Center for Responsive Politics’ Funding
True to its mission to achieve transparency in politics, the Center for Responsive Politics reveals all of their donors by name. The group has received a handful of donations of $100,000 or more, but it does not appear to have the big backing of many other advocacy groups.
The following are all the donors who contributed $100,000 or more (since 2019):
- Carnegie Corporation of New York
- Democracy Fund
- The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- Open Society Foundation
- Stuart Family Foundation
The majority of donors are actually individuals, who have contributed less than $100,000, though. In some ways, perhaps, this has benefited the organization. Donations from dubious figures can raise questions, from the optics alone.
Current Work on OpenSecrets
The ongoing and past work on OpenSecrets proves encyclopedic, with their numerous databases on money across U.S. politics. In order to make matters a bit easier for visitors, the Center for Responsive Politics has divided their content into three main groups: Politicians & Elections; Influence & Lobbying; and News & Analysis.
Politicians & Elections
Under this category, OpenSecrets tracks all forms of political contributions and spending.
Campaign donations, the personal finances of government officials, spending by outside groups, and by the political parties themselves. Simply put, the databases are comprehensive.
The Center for Responsive Politics even monitors the spending of the incumbent president. With any given administration, you just might find potential evidence of cronyism among the bundlers and appointees.
Influence & Lobbying
The Influence & Lobbying category focuses on the money spent by special interest groups, political action committees, and lobbyists. Included here is information regarding the politicians and lobbyists who have gone through the aforementioned revolving door.
The organization claims, “Corporations and industry groups, labor unions, single-issue organizations – together, they spend billions of dollars each year to gain access to decision-makers in government, all in an attempt to influence their thinking.”
With these databases, you can find out what industries, companies, and lobbying firms that have spent the most trying to influence government officials. This information proves quite useful when you try to trace connections between specific legislation and upticks in lobbying spend by potentially affected companies and industries.
News & Analysis
Beyond the extensive political financial databases, the Center for Responsive Politics also remains active on its news/blog platform. They publish independent reports and press releases (amongst other content) to alert the public of questionable political spending by the government, an official, or company.
The Zero Theft Movement has created a voting Dapp to fight against the rigged economy! Work together with your fellow citizens to investigate areas of the U.S. economy and democratically decide, through a vote, which ones have been rigged.
How OpenSecrets Has Helped the Zero Theft Movement
In the Zero Theft Movement’s fight against crony capitalism and the rigged economy, the Center for Responsive Politics has provided an invaluable wealth of data, some of which we have used ourselves.
The organization has provided the public with a powerful tool to hold our government, officials, and corporations accountable. Now it’s time to harness this tool and actually effect change.
The Zero Theft Movement provides a platform for all citizens to work collaboratively and securely to identify, debate, and decide exactly where the economic foul play is occurring through investigations and voting.
Citizens author theft proposals, and the community decides whether that investigation has convincingly proven (1) theft is or isn’t occurring in a specific area of the economy, and (2) how much is being stolen or possibly saved. Through direct democracy, we can collectively decide where the problem areas are and start working on addressing them systematically.
The ZTM community knows that many businesses, including some corporations, act ethically. We are trying to identify and expose the bad actors, the corrupt executives and government officials, and hold them accountable. That way, good people and businesses can properly thrive and enjoy the piece of the piece they’re all due.
The Zero Theft Movement does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.
Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the article. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.