Why should you research who is donating to your legislator?
Those who have donated to your legislator’s campaign have some power over your legislator. It is important to know what organizations have donated to your legislator because they may be good allies to help put pressure on your legislator for single payer healthcare. The more money an organization has donated to your legislator, the more sway they may have over your legislator. All of this information is available for free online!
Unions can be a great ally for single payer. Knowing which unions donated to your legislator (and how much) can serve as an advantage.
Awesome! How can I get started?
The purpose of this guide is to show you, step by step, everything you need to do in order to research who’s donating your legislator and what to do once you’ve generated your list.
Step 1: Getting Started
- Visit https://www.fec.gov/.
- This website has a list of everyone who has donated to legislators, from individual contributors to organizations and unions
- On the left side of the screen, click on “Campaign finance data”.
- Click on "Candidates", and when the next page loads, click again on "All Candidates".
- Type in the name of your legislator where it says “Candidate Name or ID”
- Once you type in your legislator’s name, there will be a list of legislators with that name. Go through the list and click on the correct legislator for your district where it says ID
- This will take you to a new page that looks like this. Click on the dollar amount in “Other Committees Contributions” in order to get a list of the organizations (including unions) that have donated to your legislator.
- If you want to see who individually donated to your legislator, click “Itemized Individual Contributions”.
- Once you click on “Other Committees Contributions”, there will be a list of all the organizations who have donated to your legislator. You can see the title of the organization, their location, the date of donation, and the amount donated.
- To make it easier to view this information, click on the top right icon that says “Export”. This will open the list in an excel spreadsheet. This way you can save the document, adjust the size, etc.
Step 2: Identifying unions
- Now that you have your list of organizations that donated to your legislator, it’s time to read through the list. In order to determine which organizations are unions (and potential allies), read through the organizations’ names. Some of the organizations will have the word union in their name, as seen below.
- However, sometimes the word union will not be in the name of a union. Many unions form a PAC and donate through that, as seen below.
- The word union or PAC is not always in union’s names. Sometimes, the name of a union may just include a particular occupation, such as the “International Association of Firefighters”, as seen below.
- Some unions are not as easy to spot. They may be listed as an acronym or not have a specific occupation listed in the name. An example is seen below.
Tip: Typically the name of a union that has donated will have the word employee in it. However, if it is listed as just an acronym or if you are simply unsure if the organization is a union, google it! It’s always better to overestimate and filter out the organizations that are not unions than to miss some of them.
- Lastly, when compiling your list of unions that have donated to your legislator, it is important to make note of the amount donated. Some unions have made multiple donations at different dates so make sure to add up all of the donations. An example is seen below.
Step 3: Finding Potential Allies
Now that you have a list of all the unions that have donated to your legislator along with the amounts donated, it’s time to go through the list to determine which unions will be potential allies.
- To find allies you can use: https://unionsforsinglepayer.org/union_endorsers/
- The national/international unions who have endorsed single payer can be found at the top of the webpage. There are 22 of them listed by acronym.
- Under the list of national unions is a list of local unions who have endorsed single payer. These are labeled with "local" and then a number (ex: "Local 2322").