Source: James Sample, Adam Skaggs, Jonathan Blitzer, Linda Casey, Justice at Stake Campaign, the Brennan Center, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, August 2010
From the summary:
State judicial elections have been transformed during the past decade. The story of America’s 2000-2009 high court contests–tens of millions of dollars raised by candidates from parties who may appear before them, millions more poured in by interest groups, nasty and misleading ads, and pressure on judges to signal courtroom rulings on the campaign trail–has become the new normal.
For more than a decade, partisans and special interests of all stripes have been growing more organized in their efforts to use elections to tilt the scales of justice their way. Many Americans have come to fear that justice is for sale. Unlike previous editions, which covered only the most recent election cycle, this fifth edition of the “New Politics of Judicial Elections” looks at the 2000-2009 decade as a whole. By tallying the numbers and “connecting the dots” among key players over the last five election cycles, this report offers a broad portrait of a grave and growing challenge to the impartiality of our nation’s courts. These trends include:
– The explosion in judicial campaign spending, much of it poured in by “super spender” organizations seeking to sway the courts
– The parallel surge of nasty and costly TV ads as a prerequisite to gaining a state Supreme Court seat
– The emergence of secretive state and national campaigns to tilt state Supreme Court elections
– Litigation about judicial campaigns, some of which could boost special-interest pressure on judges
– Growing public concern about the threat to fair and impartial justice–and support for meaningful reforms.
Source: National Employment Law Project, July 2010
From the press release:
New analysis released today by the National Employment Law Project lists every U.S. Senator and Representative who voted against extending unemployment benefits last month and the cost of that opposition to their states – both in terms of the thousands of unemployed workers who continue to be cut off benefits every week, and the millions in economic stimulus that each state is missing out on as a result of the lapsed programs….Yet another poll finds overwhelming support for extension of unemployment benefits to help the unemployed, despite deficit concerns.
Source: LegiStorm, March 2010
We currently have earmark data for fiscal years 2008-2010. By viewing earmark spending data in a variety of ways, you can learn details about the locations receiving funds for special projects and which legislators are securing those funds.
Source: Harold Meyerson, American Prospect, Vol. 21 no. 4, May 2010
By delaying labor reform, Obama has followed in the footsteps of earlier Democratic leaders who failed their union allies.
Source: Shriver Center, 2010
From the summary:
As millions lose their jobs, homes, and health insurance during this recession, they look to Congress to come through and help them in their time of need. But does it? Are the representatives in Washington really looking out for the interests of the people who were laid off by a plant closing, lost their health insurance, or face crushing debt as a result of a medical emergency? The 2009 Poverty Scorecard grades the performance of each member of Congress on the most important poverty-related issues that came to a vote in 2009.
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.)
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.
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.
Source: Sunlight Foundation, April 20, 2009
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.
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 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.
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.