January and February reporting powered by Sunlight tools and data

538 used Sunlight’s Capitol Words, which scrapes the text of the congressional record, to report on how often congress discusses the debt and the deficit.

As the presidential election heats up, there is more and more data — and noise — to sift through. Sunlight is here to filter through the noise using our tools and data so reporters can write informative, meaningful stories.

And January and February were full of stories powered by Sunlight tools, including a lot of fundraisers, some TV ad wars and opening up criminal justice data.  

Party Time

It is fundraising season, and Political Party Time, our crowdsourced tool of political fundraisers, was used in several stories about where 2016 candidates were going to collect big money. The International Business Times ran a story about how Hillary Clinton will be holding a fundraiser with lobbyists from several industries, including agriculture, energy and finance. The Washington Post cited a Hillary Clinton invite that was organized by a managing partner of Sankaty Capital, which is an affiliate of Bain Capital.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution used Party Time data to confirm (the best we can) that Donald Trump has held zero big-ticket fundraisers so far in his campaign.  

Party Time also published several maps, that detail the size of the Bush and Clinton families fundraising network. Technically DC and U.S. News & World Report both reported out stories using this data.  

The Hill published an interesting piece on how presidential candidate Ted Cruz likes to bash “New York City values” — but has no problem taking New York City money.

(Last but not least check our Political Party Time podcast, where we look at favorite fundraising parties and talk about money in politics news of the day. Let us know what you think in the comments below!)


Politwoops, which captures politicians’ deleted tweets, was officially relaunched in February, and we are excited to continue to hold politicians accountable for their statements made on Twitter. Be sure to check back often!

Hall of Justice

In February, Sunlight launched Hall of Justice, a new resource that contains almost 10,000 criminal justice datasets across all 50 states. Route Fifty and GovTech, among others, posted about the new inventory and its potential to further the conversation around opening up crucial criminal justice data.  

Real-Time Influence Explorer

With political fundraising comes political spending. Real-Time Influence Explorer, which tracks campaign finance info, has you covered. NPR cited Sunlight’s data in a report about how outside groups are spending money for and against Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

On the eve of the Texas primary, The San Antonio Express-News used Sunlight data to check into how a nurses union’s super PAC is spending big money backing Bernie Sanders.  

USA Today used Real-Time to help document the (now defunct) high-dollar spending of the pro-Jeb Bush super PAC Right to Rise.  

Open States

Trend CT used Open States — our tool that standardizes and opens up legislative data from all 50 states (plus D.C. and Puerto Rico) — to build a dataviz of popular bills by subject in the Connecticut legislature.  

Capitol Words

The data-driven news site 538 used Sunlight’s Capitol Words, which scrapes the text of the congressional record, to report on how often congress discusses the debt and the deficit.