Earlier this week, appropriators held a hearing on funding for the legislative agencies that make government information available to the public. Three members of the open government community, the Sunlight Foundation, the Participatory Politics Foundation, and Josh Tauberer, filed comments on the importance of making legislative information directly available to the public as a downloadable database, instead of item-by-item, which is the current practice.
The Sunlight Foundation testified on this topic (a.k.a. “bulk access”) last year, and has sketched out some interesting new tools that it could empower. But of course, one major use would be to strengthen the already fantastic services available at OpenCongress and GovTrack, while supporting additional innovations.
Progress on bulk access has been slow. Several years ago, the Congress required the Library of Congress and others to examine the issue, but these agencies have dragged their heels and — as far as we know — have failed to finish that analysis. Sunlight’s comments are available below.