Category Archives: Elected Officials

Searchable Database of House Expenditure Reports

Source: Sunlight Foundation, December 2009

On November 30, 2009, the US House of Representatives released the quarterly Statement of Disbursements online for the first time. Since the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer posted these in PDF format, Sunlight created a searchable database of each House member’s expenditures. This database contains information that is a subset of the information provided in the PDFs.

The first two databases below present the expenditures first in summary format and then in a more detailed itemized view. (This mimics how the House published the expenditures.)

How Leadership PAC Money Is Spent

Source: Mike Webb, ProPublica, September 25, 2009

Tonight, in a story we did with the Brian Ross Investigative Unit for ABC News’ World News With Charles Gibson, the network is looking at how members of Congress actually use money from their Leadership PACs. (See their slideshow.) An in-depth version of this story will come this weekend. Leadership Political Action Committees are the second-largest source of political money for sitting members of Congress. Check out our database to see exactly what your representatives are spending their Leadership PAC money on. And be sure to come back this weekend to read the full story.

Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker

Source: ProPublica and the Sunlight Foundation, 2009

Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker, a joint project of ProPublica and the Sunlight Foundation, digitizes information that representatives of foreign governments, political parties and government-controlled entities must disclose to the U.S. Justice Department when they seek to influence U.S. policy.

Apps for America Winners

Source: Sunlight Foundation, April 20, 2009

LocalPolitics.in
Enter your zip code and see your local Congress People along with their financial information, their contact information, their voting records, and a voting comparison chart of your senators. The app also displays the top ten presidential contributors for your zip code and the top ten recipients of government spending in your zip code.

Expendicus
allows users to view the independent expenditures made in a specific congressional race, in support of or opposition to an individual candidate, or commissioned by a particular PAC.

Call Congress

When’s the last time you talked to your Senator or Representative’s office? Is there an issue you care about that Congress isn’t addressing? Do you have a question about someone’s position on an issue? You need to Call Congress. When you use Call Congress to contact a Congressperson, a recording of the call is automatically posted online for everyone to hear. Don’t want the call to be recorded? You can still use the site to get contact info for your Senators and Representative.

Yeas & Nays
Yeas & Nays is a browser plug-in that transforms any webpage into a means for contacting Congressional representatives

Among the entries:
District-by-District Organizing Tool
A social networking framework for citizen organizing by congressional district.

The Petition Archives

The Petitions Archives allows people to publish and preserve the personal email petitions they send public figures.

FlashGraffer
FlashGraffer presents a graphical view of campaign contributions by industries to members of 36 House and Senate committees (110th Congress). Several interactive features let the user select different committees and highlight contributions patterns.

Where the Money Goes
Where the Money Goes makes it easier to visualize the contributions that political action committees (PACs) make to each other, and to your members of Congress.

Filibusted

Source: Fillibusted, 2009

The arcane details of what goes on in the U.S. Senate are recorded on a daily basis by GovTrack, then put into a machine-readable format so it can be consumed by others.

Every night, Filibusted checks to see what the Senate voted on that day. If there were any cloture votes, it finds out all it can about them — any associated bills and amendments, who voted which way, and so on — and stores it.

MAPLight.org

Source: MAPLight.org, 2009

MAPLight.org, a groundbreaking public database, illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws.

This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal. MAPLight.org makes money/vote connections transparent, to help citizens hold their legislators accountable.

The Database

MAPLight.org combines three data sets:

* Bill texts and legislative voting records
* Supporting and opposing interests for each bill
* Campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics

Combining this data makes visible key information that could never before be determined easily. For example:

* Contributions given by interests supporting and opposing each bill
* Average donations given to legislators voting Yes and No on each bill
* Timeline of contributions and votes for each bill, graphically identifying when legislators received large donations before or after their vote.

2008 Poverty Scorecard

Source: Shriver Center, 2009

The Shriver Center’s 2008 Poverty Scorecard acts as a year-end report card for every member of Congress. The Scorecard assigns letter grades to each member of the United States Senate and House of Representatives according to their voting records on the most important poverty-related issues that came to a vote in 2008.

In the Scorecard, four of the most important anti-poverty bills that Congress considered during 2008 passed both the House and Senate and were signed into law by President Bush. Two more were signed into law after being substantially amended; making a grand total of six important anti-poverty measures that became law. These bills address aspects of the economic downturn such as the housing crisis, unemployment compensation and the impact of high credit costs on students. Although Congress considered more important anti-poverty bills in 2007 than in 2008, only three of them passed both the House and Senate and were signed into law by President Bush.

Congressional Scorecard: Measuring Support for Equality in the 110th Congress

Source: Human Rights Campaign, 2008

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, allies, friends, families and co-workers have the power to decide whether to move forward or lose ground. The Human Rights Campaign wants to provide you with information on how your elected officials have voted on issues of equality.
See also:
* 2006 Congressional Scorecard
* 2004 Congressional Scorecard
* 2002 Congressional Scorecard

Wikipedia For Politics? A New Site Gives It A Try

Source: Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, October 9, 2007

A political Web site set to launch on Tuesday plans to become a kind of Wikipedia-like destination specializing in elections, governments, and political candidates.

The idea behind PoliticalBase.com is to provide a neutral, one-stop source of information about politics (and politicians) to which anyone can contribute. Changes must be approved by a staff editor before they take effect.
Related sites:
From the Center for Media and Democracy:
PRWatch
Coming this Week in Congress
SourceWatch
The 2008 U.S. Congressional Elections Portal
U.S. presidential election, 2008
Congresspedia
TobaccoWiki
See also:
Beta of LOUIS (Library Of Unified Information Sources) Database
Citizendium