What is the data?
The NoMoreCopMoney database compiles public campaign finance records to show which politicians are taking money from law enforcement organizations, including police and corrections officers. Each spreadsheet on the website provides data on which currently serving politicians have accepted cop money, how much they’ve received and which organization donated that money. The total for each politician represents the total cop money that they accepted for any campaign since 2015. We plan to update these databases with information about which politicians have agreed to donate the money they’ve received.
This campaign finance data comes from the National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP), a non-profit dedicated to tracking campaign spending at the state level in the United States. As part of their work they categorize contributing PACs by industry and sector. We rely on their code for “police & firefighters unions & associations” to identify relevant organizations, and exclude all of those which are related only to firefighters. Organizations representing both police officers and firefighters are included in the data. We have filtered and aggregated this data, and supplemented it with politicians' contact information to help constituents ask their representatives to get cop money out of politics.
Our data was collected from the NIMSP website on June 2, 2020. NIMSP does not include the date of contribution, only the election cycle it is associated with, so while we know our numbers include contributions from the 2020 election cycle, we cannot say for sure how current they are.
What qualifies as cop money?
PAC contributions from law enforcement organizations like police unions and associations represent the most direct form of organized cop money, but it is far from all of the cop money in politics. We would like to be clear about what the data on this site includes, and what it does not include.
These data do NOT include:
- Money donated by individual officers, chiefs, sheriffs, troopers or corrections officers.
- Money contributed by lobbyists or third party organizations that support police or law enforcement goals, but are not actually law enforcement membership organizations. Sometimes these organizations serve as passthroughs that are substantially funded by law enforcement membership organizations, as appears to be the case with Police Officers Lobbying in Common Effort (P.O.L.I.C.E) in Oregon.
- Money spent independently (independent expenditures) by police unions or associations in support of or against particular candidates.
- Money contributed by others that may be facilitated by police campaign contribution bundlers or that may be donated at fundraisers hosted or sponsored by police associations.
Differences between our contribution totals and those you may see elsewhere are most likely because of differences in these categorizations, or because campaign contribution data across many jurisdictions is notoriously messy. Because of this, the numbers we display are almost surely an undercount of the true extent of cop money in politics.