woman with head covered raising her hand

“Elections remind us not only of the rights but the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy.”

Robert Kennedy

Federal elected official or candidate: how to find out their major campaign contributors

Let’s go to the OpenSecrets.org website:

  • Step 1:  Click here:  https://www.opensecrets.org/races
  • Step 2:  In the “Search for a Candidate” box enter the candidate’s first and last names or just the last name (for example, “Chris Collins” or “Collins”) — then click the red “Search” button
  • Step 3:  You will see a page that says “Candidate Search Results.” Find the “Race” you are looking for.  You will usually want the most recent one (for example:  “2018 Races — Chris Collins (New York District 27″)) — click on the blue lettering
  • Step 4:
    • You will see a page that identifies the race (for example,  “New York District 27 … 2018 Race”)
    •  Lower down on the page you will see a row of buttons — click the third one: “Contributors”
  • Step 5:  Scroll down until you see the candidate you are interested in (for example, “Chris Collins”)
  • Step 6:  You will see a list of the largest contributors — for example, under “Chris Collins” you will see a list of that candidate’s largest campaign contributors and their amounts, starting with “Delaware North Companies — $22,500).  Note: Perhaps because federal law bars corporations from directly contributing to the campaigns of federal candidates, you will see this explanation at the bottom of the page: “These tables list the top donors to candidates in the 2017-2018 House election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.”
  • Step 7:  You now have information on the elected official’s or candidate’s major campaign contributors — information you can use to ask the candidate the right question — click here for a sample question you can adapt to your situation.
  • Step 8:  Some folks call asking such questions “bird-dogging” … we think of it as being an engaged citizen doing their part to preserve and protect our precious democracy.  As in most things in life, preparation is key — So click here for important tips to help you prepare.