Founded1983; 40 years ago (1983)[1]
FoundersFrank 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; -77.0300
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 is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that tracks data on campaign finance and lobbying. It was created from a merger of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) and the National Institute on Money in Politics (NIMP).


The Center for Responsive Politics 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 CRP 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

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 rally that occurred on January 6, 2021 preceding the 2021 United States Capitol attack.[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. December 3, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "Center for Responsive Politics". Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Guidestar. Retrieved 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. August 22, 2017. Archived from the original on August 22, 2017.}
  8. ^ Drake, Philip (June 3, 2021). "Helena-based political transparency group merges with another watchdog". Helena Independent Record. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  9. ^ O'Connor, Maura (April 3, 2012). "National Institute on Money in State Politics". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  10. ^ Suderman, Alan (May 16, 2014). "Lax state rules provide cover for sponsors of attack ads". Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  11. ^ Farnam, T.W. (January 23, 2013). "Florida group wants to end caps on campaign donations". Washington Post. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "Money in State Politics report: Minnesota fails disclosure test, again". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. December 3, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 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. ^ Fung, Katherine (January 22, 2021). "Trump rally organizers received millions from re-election campaign before Capitol riot". Newsweek. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  16. ^ "Center for Responsive Politics" (PDF). Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Guidestar. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  17. ^ "Our Funders". National Institute on Money in State Politics. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  18. ^ Pero, Dan (October 6, 2011). "Soros vs. American courts". Washington Times. Retrieved May 29, 2015.