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Center for Responsive Politics logo.svg
Founded1983; 38 years ago (1983)[1]
FoundersFormer U.S. Sens. Frank Church and Hugh Scott
Legal status501(c)(3)[2]
FocusMoney in politics
Coordinates38°54′13″N 77°01′48″W / 38.9037°N 77.0300°W / 38.9037; -77.0300Coordinates: 38°54′13″N 77°01′48″W / 38.9037°N 77.0300°W / 38.9037; -77.0300
Area served
United States
Bert Brandenburg[3]
Sheila Krumholz[4]
Revenue (2019)
Expenses (2019)$2,040,645[5]
Employees (2019)
Formerly called
Center for Responsive Politics and National Institute on Money in Politics

OpenSecrets, created after a merger of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) and the National Institute on Money in Politics, is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that tracks data on campaign finance and lobbying.


CRP was founded in 1983 by retired U.S. Senators Frank Church of Idaho, of the Democratic Party, and Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, of the Republican Party.[1] It was officially incorporated on February 1, 1984.[6] In the 1980s, Church and Scott launched a "money-in-politics" project, whose outcome consisted of large, printed books. Their first book, published in 1988, analyzed spending patterns in congressional elections from 1974 through 1986, including 1986 soft money contributions in five states. It was titled Spending in Congressional Elections: A Never-Ending Spiral.[7]

In 2021, the Center for Responsive Politics announced its merger with the National Institute on Money in Politics. The combined organization is known as OpenSecrets. The merger was funded by the Hewlett Foundation.[8]

National Institute on Money in Politics[edit]

The National Institute on Money in Politics was an American nonprofit organization that tracked campaign finance data.[9] The organization published the Follow The Money website, where it compiled political funding information from government disclosure agencies.[10] The Institute advocated for stricter regulation of political donations, including increased disclosure of political spending.[11] The Institute believed that states should require independent political spenders to disclose all information about election-related communications.[12]


In 1996, CRP launched its online counterpart,[1]

CRP hosts a revolving door database which documents the individuals who have passed between the public sector and K Street.[13]

In 2015, The News & Observer published an op-ed by Robert Maguire, the political nonprofits investigator at CRP, that was critical of Carolina Rising, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization (i.e. an organization considered by the IRS to operate exclusively for the promotion of social welfare) for spending $4.7 million in 2014 on political ads in support of Thom Tillis, Senate candidate from North Carolina.[14]

CRP reported that President Trump's re-election campaign was financially related to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.[15]


Major donors to the Center for Responsive Politics include the Sunlight Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Open Society Foundations, the Joyce Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. At the end of 2017, the organization reported $1.44 million in annual revenue and $2.92 million in net assets.[16]

Funders of the National Institute on Money in Politics included the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bauman Foundation, and the Sunlight Foundation.[17][18]


Sheila Krumholz has been the organization's executive director since December 2006, having previously served as the group's research director. She joined the organization in 1989.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Harvey, Kerric (2013). Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. Sage Publications. p. 252. ISBN 9781452290263.
  2. ^ a b "Center for Responsive Politics". Tax Exempt Organization Search. Internal Revenue Search. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  3. ^ "OpenSecrets: Board of Directors". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "OpenSecrets: Our Team". Center for Responsive Politics.
  5. ^ a b c d "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Center for Responsive Politics. Guidestar. December 31, 2019.
  6. ^ "Center for Responsive Politics". Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Government of the District of Columbia. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  7. ^ "Suggested Background Reading". Campaign Finance Information Center.
  8. ^ Drake, Philip (June 3, 2021). "Helena-based political transparency group merges with another watchdog". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  9. ^ O'Connor, Maura (April 3, 2012). "National Institute on Money in State Politics". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  10. ^ Suderman, Alan (May 16, 2014). "Lax state rules provide cover for sponsors of attack ads". Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  11. ^ Farnam, T.W. (January 23, 2013). "Florida group wants to end caps on campaign donations". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Money in State Politics report: Minnesota fails disclosure test, again". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. December 3, 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  13. ^ Wiist, William (2010). The Bottom Line or Public Health: Tactics Corporations Use to Influence Health and Health Policy, and What We Can Do to Counter Them. Oxford University Press. p. 149. ISBN 9780199704927.
  14. ^ Maguire, Robert (October 27, 2015). "Carolina Rising offers new low in campaign finance". The News & Observer.
  15. ^ Allison, Bill (2021-01-23). "Organizers of Trump Rally Had Been on Campaign's Payroll". Bloomberg.
  16. ^ "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Center for Responsive Politics. Guidestar. December 31, 2017.
  17. ^ "Our Funders". National Institute on Money in State Politics. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  18. ^ Pero, Dan (October 6, 2011). "Soros vs. American courts". Washington Times. Retrieved 29 May 2015.

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