Put Me In Touch with Democracy!


Boing Boing highlights CommitteeCaller.com, a new app that allows people to easily call an entire congressional committee to express their views. Consider it speed dial for congressional committee members. The site was built by Fred Benenson, a master’s degree student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, as a final project for a class he was taking this fall. "The web application utilizes the open source Asterisk PBX system to connect you to every senator or house member on a particular committee," Benenson writes in the Boing Boing post. "No more digging around the ‘net entering zip-codes to retrieve phone numbers of representatives," he writes. He is working on a state legislature version as well.

Benenson says he created the site out of frustration after spending hours dialing every member of a particular congressional committee. He realized that calling individual committee members should not have to be so laborious, and the process ought to be able to be automated. "I was able to aggregate a database for myself containing all 540 110 th Congress representatives and their committee affiliations," Benenson writes. He created a secondary database containing all 5,000 specific affiliations. And he states he’d be happy to share both databases with anyone who is interested in developing a similar application.

This is how it works: Go to CommitteeCaller.com and select a committee. Then enter your phone number and click "Put me in touch with democracy!" The site’s software will call you and patch the call through to the front office of each member of that committee. Easy as that! And there’s no fee. The site also allows users to rate the responsiveness of each office. CommitteeCaller.com will compile this information and grade the responsiveness of each member to the public.

Check it out.