About MapLight

About Us      What We Stand For      How We Do It      Awards


About MapLight

MapLight is a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics.

We research and compile data about the sources of campaign contributions in U.S. presidential, congressional, state, and local ballot and candidate elections. We provide journalists and citizens with transparency tools that connect data on campaign contributions, politicians, legislative votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence never before possible to see. These tools allow users to gain unique insights into how campaign contributions affect policy so they can draw their own conclusions about how money influences our political system.

MapLight was founded in 2005 by Thomas Layton, Jaleh Bisharat, and Daniel G. Newman. Daniel, MapLight's President, was recognized as one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2010 for his work at MapLight.

Watch our animated video that explains MapLight's work in just a few minutes!

Once you’ve experienced this, it’s hard to be satisfied with the old, disconnected data. It’s like getting a first taste of salt.

Evan Hansen, Editor-in-Chief, WIRED logo


Nobody has ever revealed the relationship between money given and votes cast to quite such a startling effect.

David Pogue, NY Times logo


Every taxpayer should take a hard look at this site. Never before have citizens been able to so easily track the influences on their elected officials.

Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism, Knight Lab logo


This is the most extraordinary use of technology I believe I have seen when it comes to politics.

Dylan Ratigan, MSNBC logo

Back to the Top


What We Stand For

MapLight seeks to shine a light on our money-dominated political system so citizens can be more informed about the potential financial influences that affect their representatives’ votes.

Why? We believe that democracy works best when it is the public’s interests that are at the forefront of their representatives’ minds when voting on policies – not the interests of a select few whose resources may eclipse the interests of many.

Back to the Top

How We Do It

Before MapLight, uncovering influence connections could require days or weeks of research for a single bill. Our model brings significant advances to money and politics communications, allowing us to provide the latest findings about money’s impact on important issues to citizens across the country—more quickly, comprehensively, and efficiently than was ever before possible:

  • Our money/votes data provide a basis for government accountability derived from verifiable facts, including specific dates and amounts of contributions and legislators’ voting records.
  • We present money/votes data in “real time,” so that journalists, advocacy groups, and others can cite compelling facts connecting campaign contributions to particular issues while they are “hot” topics in the news.
  • We make this information freely available to everyone and provide powerful transparency tools for disseminating it, creating the potential for money and politics accountability campaigns by groups who have never before had the resources to conduct this type of research.

Here is a timeline of our top achievements from 2016:

Here are our highlights from 2015:

Here are our top achievements from 2014:

And here are the highlights from 2013:

Back to the Top


GreatNonprofits 2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit Badge

Back to the Top

Learn more about MapLight's core work.