WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Sunlight Foundation launched Poligraft, a new website and utility that allows anyone to uncover levels of influence in federal and state-level politics and the news coverage of it. Using data from Sunlight’s TransparencyData.com and its upcoming Influence Explorer site, Poligraft allows you to connect the dots between money and politics in Congress and in state offices.
Poligraft is a tool for journalists, researchers and concerned voters. Simply paste the URL or text of a news article, blog post or press release and Poligraft will create an enhanced view of the interconnections between people, organizations and relationships described within it. Users can then click on the name of a member of Congress to view his or her campaign coffer and donors. Select a mentioned company and see how much its employees and PAC donated to which candidates. View the profile of a lobbyist and see his or her political contributions. You can also add a Poligraft bookmarklet to your Internet browser toolbar and run any webpage through the utility.
“Poligraft was designed to help detect the multiple layers of influence that are present in our political process in one fell swoop. By using publicly available data, Sunlight has developed an online tool that creates a snapshot of the influence web in Congress,” said Ellen Miller, executive director and co-founder of the Sunlight Foundation.
The backbone of Poligraft is TransparencyData.com, a central repository for federal lobbyist registrations, federal grant, and federal and state campaign contributions. Sunlight launched TransparencyData.com in June.
Sunlight Labs, the Foundation’s in-house team that builds technology and Internet tools to make government more transparent and accountable, developed Poligraft. The site uses the Calais API from Thomson Reuters for identifying and tagging the people and organizations in all searches performed. Poligraft is also supported across a variety of web and mobile browsers. Developers interested in using the Poligraft API can contact Sunlight Labs via their site at http://sunlightlabs.com.
The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight’s projects, including TransparencyData.com and Party Time.