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U.S. Congressional Materials at UC Berkeley: Influence, Background and Context

This guide provides information on locating U.S. Congressional Materials within the UC Berkeley Library.

Is Congress Bought?

Is the congressional power to create U.S. law being sold to highest spender?  Are members of both houses acting on outside interests instead of the interests of the American people?  The following sources will allow you to find exact dollar amounts flowing through Congress, track campaign contributions to the member, and track how the member voted, among other ways money can influence politics.  

These sources are free to anyone:

  • -- Provides free access to federal and state level campaign contributions.  Data can also be accessed through an API or downloaded.
  • -- From the Center for Responsive Politics
  • Sunlight Foundation -- Nonpartisan non-profit that advocates for open government.  Provides many tools and API (Application Programming Interface) for tracking money influencing Congress.
  • Federal Election Commission's Data Catalog --  Find campaign finance information from the FEC.  Other areas of the site allow for chart creation, data on Super PACs, etc.
  • LobbyView -- via MIT, allows tracking of lobby funds going back to the late 1990's for many organizations, companies, cities, etc.  Track by organization or bill number. Also provides access to lobbying disclosure forms.

The below sources are restricted to UCB ONLY:

Congressional Spending on Congress

The U.S. Congress is required to publish the receipts and expenditures of all its committees, leadership, and members.  Both the House and the Senate publish this information quarterly. 

Background and Context

Trying to figure out what was influencing Congress is a goal of many researchers.  The following databases will allow you to search for  articles and books that will provide background and context into Congressional actions and proceedings. For current issues, another  good source to check are the major newspapers (Washington Post, NYT, etc).  Also consider following groups on issues you are interested in--many of these will put out statements on about/for/against legislation. 

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