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State Political Research: Follow the Money

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Money influences politics at the national level but also has a significant influence on our states. The nonpartisan, nonprofit National Institute on Money in State Politics is a great resource for those hoping to gain an understanding of how campaign contributions effect local and state conversations. Through its comprehensive website www.followthemoney.org:

 “the Institute's data includes a 50-state database of 100,00+ lobbyists and clients who register annually, and a 50-state database of contributions documenting $28 billion. Recent expansions include selected local-level data, and collection of reports submitted by independent spending entities in up to 32 states, and political action committees in up to 39 states.

 The Institute website assists the citizen researcher with monthly live webinars, video tutorials and even civics lessons for students and teachers. Data can be sorted by state, district, ballot measures, contributions to candidates and committees and can be customized even further.  It’s the nation's only free, nonpartisan, verifiable archive of contributions to political campaigns in all 50 states, and recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. 

Corporate Research: Good Jobs First

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Good Jobs First recently revealed a new tool in the fight against corporate dominance. Violation Tracker is the first national database on corporate crime, providing data on all environmental, health and safety cases brought by 13 federal regulatory agencies [with penalties of $5,000 or more] since 2010.

One highlight from the data collected in Violation Tracker revealed: “The corporations with the most penalties are: BP ($25.4 billion), Anadarko Petroleum ($5.2 billion), GlaxoSmithKline ($3.8 billion), Johnson & Johnson ($2.4 billion), Abbott Laboratories ($1.5 billion),Transocean ($1.4 billion), Toyota ($1.3 billion) and Alliant Energy ($1.0 billion). The penalty total of all entries in Violation Tracker is about $60 billion,” according to the corresponding report BP and its Brethren.

In addition to Violation Tracker, Good Jobs First also updated its Subsidy Tracker, a national compilation of company-specific data on economic development subsidies.

In its corresponding report, Uncle Sam’s Favorite Corporations, Good Jobs First explained:  “The 50 parent companies receiving the most federal grants and allocated tax credits include 10 foreign based firms: two each from Germany and Spain and one each from Australia, China, France, Israel, Japan and Portugal. Nearly all are energy companies.” 

Both tools can prove very useful for in-depth research on corporate misbehavior. To learn what corporations are receiving your tax dollars, and which are continual bad actors, visit: http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/violation-tracker Graphic by Good Jobs First 

[Rachel Bennett Steury, Membership and Communications Committee Co-Chair] 

Congressional Outreach

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State Of The Union (201501200004HQ)

 UUA provides a comprehensive guide for interacting with Congress. 

 “Tips on Legislative Advocacy” is a helpful tool for those planning to visit, call or write elected officials.

  2017 Senate Calendar can be found here.  

  2017 House Calendar can be found here


Photo courtesy of NASA


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