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What’s Going on in the Labs

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Project Updates

MediaSync

MediaSync got a major upgrade and a Dirty Dancing name thanks to Jeremy and a few others in the Django community. It's incredibly flexible now and definitely work a look if you're in need of a media deployment solution for your Django projects.

Congress API

James spent a little time last month to update the data in the Congress API to get it ready for the 112th Congress. More information on the update can be found here.

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Labs Lunch Link Dump

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Once a week here at Sunlight Labs we sit down for lunch to talk about new things we've learned, fun stuff we're playing with and anything else that we find interesting. It's always a highlight of the week and we want to share with you what we're discussing.

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What’s Going on in the Labs

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Wow. So November was eventful...

PAC Generator

Nicko in communications came up with the idea, Jeremy ran with it and we have a hit. We released our PAC Name Generator last week and the response was great. I'm pretty sure that I beat the game when my PAC name came up as "Scheming Gentlemen for What You Believe In PAC." Try to beat it. You can't.

Checking Influence

Last week we also launched the Checking Influence bookmarklet, a tool that allows you to see how companies that you do business with are influencing politics through lobbying and campaign contributions. Give it a shot. It might surprise you. For more info on Checking Influence, see our introductory blog post.

New states added to Open State Project API

James announced that data for Florida, Virginia, and New Jersey were added to the Open States API.

ForeignLobbying.org

A new version of the Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker, a joint project from Sunlight and ProPublica, was launched with updated data.

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Introducing Briefing Book

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At Sunlight, we spend a lot of time following the money in an attempt to measure influence in the legislative process. While we obviously believe in the benefit of shining a light on these connections, the truth is that it's only part of the story. With our next experiment, a briefing book application, we aim to provide citizens with access to research and opinions that influence legislation currently under consideration by Congress.

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What’s Going on in the Labs

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September was a very busy month for us in the labs. New product launches, an open house, new employees, conferences, a broken system administrator and the daily task of maintaining existing products. Here's a rundown of what we've been up to and what you can expect to see from us soon.

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What’s Going on in the Labs

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If you're like us, you're busy creating and don't take the necessary time to document and communicate what you're up to. Here in the labs, we've been great about announcing when we're finished with a product but we haven't really kept the community informed on what we're working on before we're done with it. We're going to improve this. Starting with this post, we're going to give you a monthly rundown of what we're working on here in our D.C. offices. With this and other proposed initiatives like improved documentation of our projects and making labs staff available for IRC "office hours," we hope to do a better job of keeping you in the loop and making ourselves available for questions or comments. Please let us know what you think about these proposals. With that, here's what we're up to at Sunlight Labs:

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Our next big goal, The Fifty State Project

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While no single developer has the time to volunteer writing a custom scraper for each state, the goal of having data for all fifty states is entirely attainable if we come together and share the workload. This is where you come in. We need your help databasing state legislation.

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