Influences on Public Policy

If you are familiar with how to find information about influences on public policy, you can skip this section.
Overview: Lobby groups exercise influence on public policy both through committee hearings and by talking directly with Members.

Committees do the bulk of work on prospective legislation, and are a major target for lobbyists.

Committee Information.

Print source: Many sources describe committee membership and jurisdiction. Among them is the Congressional Yellowbook, which is easy to use, but lags about three months at the beginning of a new Congress.

Its call number is: JK1083.C75, and it is located in the Documents Center.

Web source: Historical data on committee membership can be found in the Official Congressional Directory since 1996.
Web sources: The Contacting the Congress has the current committee assignments.

Member Information.

Overview: To get member information you may need to mix and match directories, biographies, and campaign finance sources.


Print source: The Congressional Yellow Book lists the committee assignments and staff for Members of Congress
Web source: There are a number of current sites on the Web.


Web source: There are lots of Web sites that give biographies, with new ones appearing every day.
Print source: The Almanac of American Politics is well-known for its political biographies, descriptions of Congressional districts, lobby group ratings, and key votes.

Its call number is: JK1012.A44, and it is located in the Documents Center. A web version of the Almanac of American Politics is also available to University of Michigan users.

Print source: A rival source is the Politics in America, which covers very similar information but also includes party unity data.

Its call number is: JK1010.P76, and it is located in the Documents Center.

Campaign Finances

Print source: A good paper source is called Open Secrets. It lists campaign finances by interest group.

Its call number is: JK1991.M261, and it is located in the Documents Center.

Open Secrets has a searchable database for the 2002 elections and additional data for elections beginning 1996.

Web source: FEC Info has campaign finance data beginning with the 1993 elections to the present. Additional sources provide summary information.

Lobby Group Ratings

Web source: Many of these are available on the Web.

One example is the League of Conservation Voters.

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Last updated: 22 July 2003 [an error occurred while processing this directive]