Congressional Web Site Study: Correction


We just re-ran some of the numbers for the congressional Web site survey, in particular the number of members whose sites scored 40 points or more. The good news is that the results were better than we initially reported–162 member Web sites had a passing grade, which means that they provided, at a minimum, basic information on the member’s official duties in Congress, from the bills they sponsor to the committees they serve on to electronic contact information (an email or Web-based form) which the public can use to write them. That’s much better than the number we originally reported, which was that 499 member sites failed to do that–it’s actually 374 that fall short on our survey. That number is high, of course, but much better than 499, which of course is good news–the purpose of this exercise was to evaluate the extent to which congressional Web sites functioned as tools for transparency. When it comes to questions of what members do in their official capacity in Washington, it appears that about 30 percent have the answers online.

The bad news, of course, is that I put out a bad number–while we have continued to adjust the results since Monday’s release, we haven’t moved anything close to 120 members into the passing category. I must have gotten the bad number during the period when we were verifying results before the release. It was, in any case, a big goof. Fortunately, none of the other information was inaccurate — the results for individual members, states and questions all were presented accurately. The problem, obviously, was that counting up all the numbers of 40 and more was beyond me.