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Senate Provides Better Tool for Tracking Lobbyists

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The Senate Office of Public Records launched an enhanced database for lobbying disclosure on New Year's Eve, one that allows users for the first time to search previously unsearchable fields like "specific lobbying issue." What this means is that you can plug in a bill number -- say S. 681, the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act -- and find out that 19 organizations disclosed lobbying on the bill, including top political donors Citigroup, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, Exxon Mobil and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Perhaps it should be expected that the Swiss Bankers Association also has an interest in the legislation...

Pam Gavin, SOPR's Superintendent of Public Records, says that about 90 percent of the 2007 mid-year lobbying reports are fully searchable, and going forward in 2008, 100 percent of them will be. She also helpfully pointed out that the whole database is now downloadable, year by year--the data is available here.

Note: If you're having trouble seeing the new site, you might want to empty your cache.