Citizen Journalists Investigated 435 House Members in less than two days!


Citizen Muckrakers have investigated 437 members of Congress, and tentatively found 19 spouses who were paid by a member’s campaign committee-totaling some $641,200 since January 1, 2005.

Incredible!–in less than two days, a virtual investigative team dug through campaign finance records for 435 current members of Congress, trying to find out of they paid their spouses from campaign funds. There were 24 of us (myself included–I looked up six members) who left our names, and 83 members investigated by anonymous researchers. I’m not sure whether that’s actually 83 individual researchers, or one very industrious but bashful person, or some total in between, but our tech folks should be able to give us some idea of what the actual number of participants was.

Of those who did leave their names, our huge thanks go out to KCinDC who investigated 155 House members, Beezling who looked into 116, VaAntirepublican who did 24, Cosmo with 10, Rybesh with 9, plus a bunch who chipped in with five or fewer: Samesty84, dday, Lisa Renee, esalituro, ny13blog, Hells Bells, doughnutman (mmmm….doughnuts….), msburton, Sourmash, Kevin Bickley, redrocketb, StevenV, jgrr, Jay Rosen, Pontio and pastapesto. Also thanks to Ellen Miller, Greg Elin and Kate Herbst–colleagues of mine from Sunlight–who looked into a few members themselves. Altogether at least 25 people participated, and perhaps as many as 107.

And, as Humphrey Bogart told Claude Rains at the end of Casablanca, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” This project is just the beginning–just the first part of the first phase of an effort to develop a set of easy to use online investigative tools that bring transparency to Congress. With your help, we’ll further refine them as we investigate spouses of the 100 members of the Senate, and continue to do so as we move on to other family members. We’ll broaden beyond campaigns to look at relatives of members of Congress who lobby, who run political action committees or work for fundraising committees.

So, to everyone who participated, or just checked out the effort, a hearty thanks. Enjoy your Sunday, and we’ll get back to work next week!