Resources for Your Research


Jane Hamsher brought to my attention this morning a contest being run over at Daily Kos to find out why 50 Democrats are resisting their constituents’ support for health care reform. She is asking for folks to look at the lawmakers  — who they get money from, how they vote, what amendments they offer as a way to explain and other things too, perhaps as a way to explan, who is the most beholden to the special interests who are fighting various elements of the health care reform plan.

This is a terrific idea and I thought it would be really helpful to offer up the number of Sunlight created or sponsored databases to help with the research.

Here’s a bunch of places to start:

Open Congress (voting records, bill and amendment sponsorship)

Open Secrets (campaign finance, campaign expenditure, lobbying, revolving door, personal financial disclosure information)

Party Time (fundraisers)

MAPLight (connections between votes and campaign contributions)

Taxpayers for Common Sense (sponsors of earmarks)

Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker (lobbyists lobbying on behalf of foreign entities, searchable by MOC)

LOUISdb (Congressional Record, Federal Register, Congressional Hearings and Reports, Bills and Resolutions)

Capitol Words (most frequently spoken word by legislator)

LittleSis (an involuntary Facebook for the well-connected)

FedSpending (government contracts. Search by district)

Metavid (video clips of members of Congress)

Good as these resources are, Sunlight would really like to make it even easier for you to do this kind of research so we have underway an effort to create a repository of all the information in that list above (and more!) so that you can seamlessly search through all these data bases. (Think a virtual ‘one-click’ search). It’s going to take a while before it’s a reality but we are hard at work on it.