Special Interest Groups - Special Interests & Propaganda
Searching in google for the special interest group + "ad campaign" will show you some of their marketing methods.
- Special Interest Groups
- AKA Lobbyists
- AKA Pressure Groups
- AKA Advocacy Groups
Many groups use different words than "lobbying." If you are researching, you might also try words like:
- Political, Federal, or Legislative Advocacy
- Political Contributions
- Legislative, Political, of Federal Action
- Legislative Priorities
To see info about a special interest group's lobbying spending, check websites like:
- It might not be the prettiest site, but the campaign finance data you see somewhere else on the Web likely originates here. This site is useful because of the sheer amount of data dumps it offers from its disclosure data catalog. Seven sets of data are offered here, ranging from “Lobbyist/Registrant Committee Statement of Organization” to “Administrative Fines.” Of course, you’ll also find “Candidate Summary”which contains general financial information about candidates.
- A project of the Sunlight Foundation, Influence Explorer crunches the FEC data and makes it digestible for the average user. It displays a number of attractive, colorful graphs detailing the source of a politician’s political contributions. Users can also sort by company, industry and also look at lobbying information.
- While not as attractive as Influence Explorer, OpenSecrets offers more features. With OpenSecrets, you’re able to track where members of certain congressional committee receive their donations, by industry. The site also features a lobbying disclosure database and information about political action committees. It also tells you, by cycle, who ran the most and least expensive campaigns. OpenSecrets is a project of the Center for Responsive Politics.
- While FEC data is useful for those seeking federal office (House, Senate, presidency), it does not exist for candidates seeking state or local elective office. Follow The Money, a project of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, aggregates the campaign finance data from local jurisdictions across the country and presents it in an easy to use format. It also offers a handy API and some widgets.
- Journalists love this site, while Capitol Hill staffers notoriously hate it. Why? With LegiStorm, you can look up the salary of everyone who works on Capitol Hill, from the staff assistant to a first term congressman to the chief of staff to a powerful senator. Financial disclosure forms for senators, members of congress and staff are available. In another database, you can search foreign trips that were funded by private organizations. Even more databases have information about lobbying and foreign gifts. LegiStorm is a for profit website so only some functions are free.
- which looks only at state races and offices, not federal—also offers a smart feature called L-CAT, short for Legislative Committee Analysis Tool. This tool identifies donors to lawmakers who sit on the powerful legislative committees that in most state legislatures decide which bills are introduced. Bender explains why he likes this function: if a lobbyist for a utility company testifies at an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, for example, a reporter covering that hearing might consult L-CAT to find out quickly if that utility has donated to members of the committee, and if so, to add the information to his or her story.
- Facebook's Ad Library
1. Searching the keyword "propaganda" may not return results you need.
Why? Although the word originally did not have negative connotations, it has evolved to be considered mostly negative and therefore people rarely assign that word to their own creations. Other terms you might use:
Political Attack Ads
interest group ads
Places to look for examples of their propaganda:
Their social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Google’s new database, which it calls the Ad Library, is searchable through a dedicated launch page. Anyone can search for and filter ads, viewing them by candidate name or advertiser, spend, the dates the ads were live, impressions and type. For anyone looking for the biggest ad budget or the farthest reaching political ad, the ads can be sorted by spend, impressions and recency, as well. Google also provided a report on the data, showing ad spend by U.S. state, by advertiser and by top keywords.
The Political TV Ad Archive collected and, using innovative open source technology, tracked airings of political ads in key markets the 2016 election cycle.
The collection also linked ads to fact-checks by national fact-checking organizations. In addition to tracking airings across key primary states, the collection includes ads that may air elsewhere or exclusively on social media.
ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization that built a simple tool to collect the political ads that people like you are being targeted with on Facebook. ProPublica has already collected more than 48,000 ads, and you can search through them here. This important database has helped expose how ad targeting is being abused, among other important stories