LegiStorm, the sister company of the for-profit Storming Media, provides information about the U.S. Congress to the public. In line with their goal to make Congress more transparent, they have just launched an earmark database using 2008 data from Taxpayers for Common Sense. Taxpayers’ data is currently displayed via a massive Excel spreadsheet. LegiStorm has integrated the data with their other data sets, creating this helpful tool to shine light on congressional and executive spending. LegiStorm says they will add the earmark spending data for 2009 after the budget process is complete.
The site allows you to easily learn earmark details such as who the sponsoring members are, which were sponsored by the president, all the earmarks designated to each state, what organizations received the funds, and what bills authorized each earmark. It also lists the number and dollar amounts each state received (Virginia just edged out Texas and California for the top in earmark dollars), the number and amounts designated by each member, a listing of the most expensive earmarks, top receiving organizations, as well as a list of “airdropped earmarks,” an earmark that is not included in the original legislation as approved by either the House or Senate but is later mysteriously inserted into the conference committee reports, which combine both chambers’ versions of the bill.
Sunlight is working with Taxpayers to build a site that will allow users to more easily search their earmark data too. And in the meantime congrats to them for completely making their data available to LegiStorm. And thanks, LegiStorm, for making this data more accessible.