Sunlight reporter Ryan Sibley published a short post today on various efforts of Koch Industries to influence environmental policy. That piece is a perfect example of the value of bringing disparate datasets together under one site. Ryan pulls in data on Koch Industries’ lobbying activities, EPA enforcement actions against the company and a Koch executive that sat on an EPA advisory committee–all from Influence Explorer and TransparencyData.
The story is based on some of the new data sets that we’ve added to Influence Explorer: EPA enforcement actions, public comments on federal rulemakings and corporate employees on federal advisory committees. I’ll give a brief overview of each.
EPA enforcement actions come to us from the EPA’s ECHO database. We’ve hand-matched defendants in enforcement actions to corporations on Influence Explorer. This means we’ve done the work of identifying corporate subsidiary relationships, allowing you to, for example, see the hundreds of millions of dollars of fines levied on Koch subsidiaries Invista and Georgia Pacific.
Clicking on any case name in Influence Explorer will take you to the EPA site where you can view each case in detail. An overview of the data is also available for download on TransparencyData’s EPA section.
Federal advisory committee membership data is collected by the GSA and publicly disclosed as part of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). All members of any of the thousands of official advisory committees are registered here. Any committee member listed as affiliated with a company in Influence Explorer will show up on that company’s page.
Clicking on the committee name will take you to TransparencyData, where you can see other individual committee members, whether corporate affiliated or not.
Public comments on federal rulemakings are scraped from Regulations.gov, the main government portal for viewing and commenting on upcoming rules. We provide two views into the data: one showing when the company itself submitted official comments and a second showing when the company name was mentioned in the text of other comments.
Clicking on the triangle on the left will expand the docket to show the individual comments. Links lead to Regulations.gov, where the original PDFs of the comments can be downloaded. For the first time, researchers and professionals can also download the complete text of a docket or even entire agency. For instructions on obtaining the data in bulk see here.
We hope that these three new dataset integrations, along with the contractor misconduct dataset integrated earlier this year, will give a useful picture of corporate accountability and influence beyond campaign finance and lobbying. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us here.