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Follow the Money — Tracking Companies’ Influence on Politics: Self-guided training

Sunlight Foundation

The free workshop, “Follow the Money – Tracking Companies’ Influence on Politics,” was originally held at the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference on Feb. 22, 2012. It was hosted by IRE, the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, the Illinois Press Association and the Missouri Press Association.

Please note: We’ve added resources that were provided at a similar workshop at the IRE Conference in Boston, June 2012.


  • How to find campaign contributions by companies at the state and federal level.
  • How to find lobbying expenditures by companies at the state and federal level.
  • How to tie company spending on candidates or lobbying to legislative or regulatory actions.
  • How to find corporate contributions to independent groups.

Copyright Sunlight Foundation

Bill Allison



Ron Nixon

Bill Allison is the editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation. A veteran investigative journalist and editor for nonprofit media, Allison worked for the Center for Public Integrity for nine years, where he co-authored “The Cheating of America,” was senior editor of “The Buying of the President 2000″ and co-editor of the New York Times bestseller “The Buying of the President 2004.”

Ron Nixon is a domestic correspondent in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times, where he has worked since 2005. He is the former computer-assisted reporting editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a former training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors.


Take a look through the workshop session recordings and resources below. At your own pace, you can walk through the self-guided lesson on strategies for tracking companies’ influence on politics.

Session Recordings

PowerPoint Presentations

Additional Resources

Check out other self-guided training modules about computer-assisted reporting and corporate investigations.


In Financial/economy, Investigative, Self-guided and archives.

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