Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Political Advocacy Groups
A directory of interest groups that lobby Congress.
Open Secrets Lobbying Database
Find campaign contribution and spending amounts by industries, issues and more. The filters on the left hand side are helpful to narrow your search. Dollar amounts and top spending industries can be useful if you're following a money trail in your research.
FollowTheMoney Lobbyist Register
Locate names of state registered lobbyists here. Find search tools mid-way down the page for federal, state and local elections. Further down are ways to locate data by year, and news reports are after that.
U.S government requirements, forms and report details for lobbyists.
Think tanks are institutions affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and businesses that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity.
Example Think Tanks
Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)
NGOs, or Non-Governmental Organizations, are non-profit organizations working on humanitarian, human rights, and sustainable development issues worldwide.
The online library of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) featuring its books, papers and statistics. Browse by theme or country.
Human Rights Watch
One of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.
Through detailed research and determined campaigning, we help fight abuses of human rights worldwide. We bring torturers to justice. Change oppressive laws. And free people jailed just for voicing their opinion.
Environmental Defense Fund
An organization of scientists, economists, and policy experts working to address today's most urgent environmental challenges.
Lobbying, Interest Groups, and PACs
- Lobbying - Direct contact made by a lobbyist in order to persuade government officials to support the policies their interest group favors. A high profile lobby example is the National Rifle Association.
- Interest groups - A group of people with common goals who organize to influence the government.
- Political Action Committee (PAC) - An organization formed to provide financial support for political candidates. A PAC is local or state based. For example, the Dallas Police Officer's Political Action Committee(DPOPAC) provides financial support for and endorses state and local candidates.
Being non-profit or even being humanitarian does not mean that an organization does not have a bias in favor or against a certain subject, industry or policy. Just because an organization has a bias does not mean that you would not use information from them.
- Check the "About" page to understand the mission of the interest group.
- Do some searching on Google to see what more you can find out.
- Check to make sure that any research conducted was well done.
- Look for other groups that may have different positions.
- Find out who funds the organization. Be aware that some think tanks are run by corporations as a way to generate positive public relations.
Rates major think tank's financial transparency.
Information about corporate public relations (PR) campaigns, including corporate front groups that look like think tanks