LegiStorm’s Data Making Waves
LegiStorm, the Web site that shares Sunlight’s goals of making Congress as transparent as possible, via their blog reports on how Roll Call used LegiStorm’s congressional data to show how Christopher Riley, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, violated House rules by exceeding the amount of side income a staff member can make. Riley was being paid by his bosses’ reelection campaign, as well as receiving a congressional salary. As Deal’s chief of staff, Deal earned a large enough salary that qualified him as a "senior staffer." House rules limit such staffers to $25,000 in outside income annually. Riley’s income had greatly exceeded this amount, LegiStrom’s data revealed. In response to Roll Call‘s inquiries, he returned $90,000 to Deal’s campaign. Deal said he was unaware of the House rule limiting outside income.
Earlier this week, Roll Call published a story that used LegiStorm’s financial disclosures to reveal a potential conflict of interest with an energy business owned by Rep. Steve Pearce. The paper reported that Pearce sold his assets of his oil services company for $12 million to an energy company that had testified before a panel he co-chaired. Pearce’s personal financial disclosure listed the value of the company at $1 million to $5 million.
In February, LegiStorm created hysteria on the Hill by releasing a database of staffer personal financial disclosures. Since the database went public, four chiefs of staff for House members have come under public scrutiny over matters contained in the personal financial disclosures.