MapLight U.S. Congress: Research Guide

If you want to run for Congress, you need money. A lot of money.

To win election, U.S. House members raised, on average, $2,315 per day, every day, for an entire two-year term—including weekends and holidays. That’s $1.7 million per House member, on average.

Winning senators raised $10.5 million, on average$14,351 per day. (These figures are for the 2012 election, based on a MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.)

The main source of this campaign money is interest groups that want something from government. Once elected, politicians often pay back their campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest. MapLight's research tools help shine a light on the connection between money and votes, to help citizens hold legislators accountable.

Money and Votes

MapLight connects money and votes. We bring together, in one website, the money given to politicians with each politician's votes.

We provide data, research services, and online tools that work together to make patterns of money and influence more transparent. Connections between campaign contributions, interest groups and votes that would have required days or weeks of manual research are now available at the click of a mouse.

We currently track money and votes for the U.S. Congress and the California state legislature. You can stay up-to-date on our work via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.