Data source: MapLight research team

Our database includes which interest groups, companies, and organizations support and oppose key bills in Congress. For each bill, our in-house research team uses public record sources, like Congressional hearing testimony, news databases, and trade associations’ websites, to determine:

  1. Organizations in support or opposition: For example, ExxonMobil or American Bankers Association.
  2. Interest groups in support or opposition: Industry categories, such as Multinational Oil & Gas Producers or Commercial Banks.

For example, we found that the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights of 2009 was supported and opposed by these organizations and industries:



Organizations: Organizations:

Americans for Fairness in Lending
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
Center for Responsible Lending
Consumer Action
Consumer Federation of America
Consumers Union
National Association of Consumer Advocates
National Consumer Law Center
National Small Business Association
National Training and Information Center
Public Citizen
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups

American Bankers Association
Credit Union National Association
Independent Community Bankers of America

Industries: Industries:

Small Business Associations
Consumer Groups

Commercial Banks & Bank Holding Companies
Credit Unions

In following Congress, amendments are as important as bills. Amendments might or might not be related to the topic of the bill they are amending. On the MapLight site, we track each amendment or bill as a separate Congressional “action.” Each action—each amendment or bill—has its own set of support and opposition interests.

For example, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act regulated bank credit card practices. In support of this bill: small business and consumer groups. Opposed: banks and credit unions. An amendment to this bill was on a different topic, allowing concealed weapons in national parks. In support of this amendment: the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups. Opposed: gun control groups.

For each organization we find that supports or opposes a bill, we record a citation of where and when we found this information and make a copy of the source document (typically Congressional testimony, a news article, or a trade association Web site post). You can view our citations and access links to the original source documents from our site. If an organization supports a particular policy, and that policy is offered as a bill (or amendment), we will list the organization as supporting that bill (or amendment), even if the organization has not made a statement about that bill (or amendment) specifically.

For example, this citation from labor union AFL-CIO does not explicitly mention support of any bill. However, its support for a specific labor reform is explicit and obvious enough to merit citing the AFL-CIO as supporting both the House and Senate versions of the Employee Free Choice Act.  

Our research team has gathered support/opposition data for thousands of bills to date. We gather this data for newsworthy bills: bills that move forward in Congress or that are mentioned in the news or blogs. We do not research support/opposition for ceremonial bills (such as naming post offices). Every bill is published on our site, even ceremonial ones, but not all bills include our original research on support/opposition.

By itself, our support and opposition information gives immediate insight into what is really at stake for bills in Congress, quickly orienting readers to the interest groups behind legislation. It is often difficult to understand the true intent and beneficiaries of Congressional legislation. MapLight’s unique data provides valuable signposts, showing who is on which side.

Even more significantly, our data provides the “glue” to connect political inputs (such as campaign contributions and lobbying) to political outputs (such as contracts and legislation). A vital part of making the transparency movement useful to ordinary people is connecting government information with the specific issues that people care about. MapLight’s data links campaign dollars to relevant issues with everyday impact—prescription drugs, gas prices, credit cards, and more.