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About Sludge

Sludge produces investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics. We look beyond public records and disclosures to reveal the hidden networks and conflicts of interest that drive systemic corruption.

Sludge reports on the ways industries launder their agendas through independent groups, the power maps of corporate networks that extend deep into government, how concentrated economic powers dictate public policy, and more. We scour traditional lobbying disclosures and campaign contributions, but our primary focus is all the ways that money influences politics that don’t fit established patterns and often don’t have to be disclosed.

As special interests try to hide their lobbying, Sludge is committed to exposing them.


In November and December, Sludge is participating in the NewsMatch matching drive for non-profit newsrooms through the Institute for Nonprofit News.

New Sludge memberships starting at $5 a month will be matched at a full year’s value, and new donations will be matched towards our goal of $11,500 raised. This match is vital to continuing our work in 2021.

Support Sludge’s independent journalism:

Become a member starting at $5-a-month and get our special SLUDGE REPORT member newsletter.

– Subscribe on Substack and get Sludge stories over email minutes after they’re published

– Join on Patreon and back our muckraking

To make a tax-exempt donation to our affiliated non-profit organization, please email: david@readsludge.com.

To donate crypto, visit us on Coinbase.

To donate via PayPal to readsludge@gmail.com, click the button below. You’ll be taken to PayPal to login with your email address and your PayPal password—then enter an amount, choose whether you’d like it to be recurring, and press donate.





Sludge never takes money from advertisers, interest groups, or corporations, so we are solely focused on providing information that our members value. Because we don’t rely on advertisements for revenue we never produce “clickbait” to pay our bills and we never shy away from topics that challenge powerful interests.

Site Memberships and Accounts

Members who donate to support our independent journalism can always control their own accounts directly—they can cancel or change their donation amount or delete their account on their own.

To access your Sludge account, visit the Donation page and click the link at upper-right or at the very bottom, “Already a donor? Log in here.” Enter your email in the field, and click the magic link sent to your account from sender Sludge. Then you’ll be logged-in to your account on Sludge, which you can access via the blue Sludge button in the lower-right corner of the site. Your member panel to manage donation looks like this:

Contact us with any questions, email: hello@readsludge.com, or DM us on Twitter, and we can offer user support by telephone, text chat, or video chat as well. We’re available to help make this easy, and we really appreciate our reader support. These same instructions on how to change a recurring donation are also available on our site Pico payment system’s help resources.

The Sludge team

David Moore – Previously, Executive Director of the non-profit Participatory Politics Foundation. PPF created OpenCongress, the most visited non-profit site for tracking bills and money in the U.S. Congress. Later projects included AskThem and NYC Councilmatic. David is based in NYC. (@ppolitics)

Donald Shaw – Journalist who focuses on special interests’ efforts to influence politicians and shape public policy. He has been a reporter at MapLight, where he exposed correlations between campaign contributions and votes, and at OpenCongress. Donald is based in Western Massachusetts. (@donnydonny)

Previous Sludge reporters: from 2018-2019, Alex Kotch (@alexkotch); and in 2018, Jay Cassano (@jcassano) and Josefa Velasquez (@J__Velasquez).

Sludge Funding & Donor Information

From January 2018 through March 2019, Sludge was supported by grants from the Civil Media Company and Civil Foundation. From April 2019 to April 2020, Sludge operated as an independent newsroom with the majority of its funding coming from small-donor member support. In addition to small-dollar donations from Sludge readers, since April 2020 Sludge has also been supported by our founders’ previous 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Participatory Politics Foundation.

Sludge held a successful Kickstarter in March-April 2019 and reached halfway to goal in an IndieGoGo in October 2019. Sludge has received gifts between $1,000 and $5,000 from four family foundations to support our independent journalism in 2019 and 2020.

Sludge Climate Desk – Thank-You

Sludge warmly thanks our Kickstarter supporters Megan Rooney, Rebecca Abts Wright, Kate A. Shaw, Ilo Milstein, and a valued guest from North Carolina for their donations towards our Climate Desk. Join our free email newsletter for more reporting on the fossil fuel industry!

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