Inside the 990 Treasure Trove

Center for Responsive Politics

Date Awarded
Grant Period
07/22/15 to 04/13/17
Focus Area
Media Innovation
Knight News Challenge

Project Links

Grantee Contact

  • Washington , DC

Featured Media

Helping voters and journalists better understand who is funding campaigns by partnering with GuideStar to unearth more comprehensive data on the sources of so-called 'dark money.'

The Center for Responsive Politics wants to help journalists and the public better understand who is funding campaigns and the sources of so-called “dark money,” the funds that certain nonprofits can spend to back candidates and issues without having to reveal where the donations are coming from. In fact, the amount of dark money in campaigns has grown exponentially – from $6 million in 2004 to $309 million in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The center has developed a system for tracking and processing information on these donations from difficult-to-access IRS 990 forms, and matching this information with Federal Elections Commission data. With new funding, the center will partner with GuideStar to retrieve greater volumes of this information more quickly and comprehensively, and create a database that any journalist can access.

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Project Team

Robert Maguire

Robert Maguire is the Political Nonprofit Investigator at the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2012, he started CRP's Politically Active Nonprofit Project, the most comprehensive data publicly available to illustrate the financial networks and spending of dark money political groups. Robert has written for and collaborated with news outlets like the Washington Post, NPR, and the Daily Beast, and he has been a guest on CNN, Al-Jazeera and Huffpost Live. In 2014, he and his colleague Viveca Novak won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award for a series of stories based on CRP’s dark money data.

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