What are you finding in the search for Member page transparency? Give a spin around and you're bound to find something interesting. We all now know about Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Jon Tester posting their daily schedule on the web but we haven’t seen too much from other Members. This post highlights some things Members are doing that you might run across while undertaking our new citizen journalist assignment.
Posting a schedule is an innovative way to provide constituents with more information and provide them with a better feel for what a Member of Congress does. While Gillibrand and Tester are at the forefront of a new kind of schedule transparency they were not the first to post some form of personal schedule online. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) has been posting a schedule on his site for years now, although the schedule does not list more than one thing for each day. Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) also posts a schedule on his website that does provide a bit more information than Capuano’s schedule.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) also posts a schedule on her site. Her schedule has to be both the best and one of the worst of all those who post schedules. While Woolsey does not take advantage of it, the tool she is using for her schedule is pretty awesome (for something on a Member website). You can search by meetings, hearings, and district events and there is a visual element to it. Unfortunately, she does not offer up any information regarding what the meetings or hearings were about or who they were with. See here:
There’s a lot of potential in Woolsey’s schedule for constituents. If only she’d actually use it.
There are a few other members who post, or pretend to post, a personal schedule to their website. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) is probably the best of these others as he actually puts some information up. Dorgan’s Daily News Brief is not archived unfortunately.
Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-NY) uses his website to give an explanation for each of his votes on legislation. Each explanation is essentially a press release but it combines two things that constituents want: a vote history for the Member and an explanation of those votes.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (R-NY) is not afraid to tell you the appropriations, or earmarks, that she has won for her district. Check it out here:
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has a pretty great list of all the legislation that he sponsored that provides, with each vote, all the links to the bill text, his statements and press releases, along with other endorsements of each piece of legislation.
And in the spirit of providing more information to the public Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has a list of links to CRS reports on a variety of subjects and bills.
Now, I’ve only looked over a few of these so there are probably a number of interesting ways that Members disclose information through their website. Most, if not all, of these methods need some improvement (a lot of improvement in many cases). But they are a start. What have you found in your search?