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Political influence by county: A new way to look at campaign finance data

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Over the summer, the Sunlight Foundation partnered with Azavea, a Philadelphia-based firm that specializes in mapping and geo-spatial analysis, to create location-based analyses of the federal campaign finance data we display on InfluenceExplorer.com. The partnership produced new and more accurate ways to identify trends in political spending according to location that were previously hard to complete because of complications in the mapping process. Many of the findings were mapped.

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Coding, Not Just for the Boys

Instead of scheduling brunch plans or enjoying a lazy afternoon this weekend, close to 40 women took over the Sunlight conference room this past Saturday for an all-female software training program conducted by GeekChic. Here at Sunlight, we were happy to host the training and help cultivate more developers in the DC community with the hopes of increasing awareness of open data and turning these future developers on to our APIs and databases.

So many ladies learning programming!! #sunlightgram

While many our developer colleagues were participating in the National Day of Civic Hacking, a number of us were here writing our first lines of code. In the seven-hour training intensive, we covered the basics of command line, learned to write and execute code in Python, got our style on with some basic CSS and HTML training as well as created our first web app on Django. (Whew, that was exhausting just recounting what we did.) Six Sunlighters, with a range of tech know how, participated in the training and here’s what we learned (and real life testimonials on why you shouldn’t be afraid to learn to code!). If you are interested in partnering with Sunlight to host technology workshops, please contact events@sunlightfoundation.com.

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Biden pitches gun control in NRA country

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Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Mark KellyWhen Vice President Joe Biden travels to Richmond, Va. today to participate in a roundtable about gun violence, he'll be visiting a state where the legislature largely has beaten back proposals to regulate guns, and where politicians have gotten $2.2 million in support from gun rights groups over the past two decades.

Most of that money—$2 million—came from the National Rifle Association, according to Sunlight Foundation's Influence Explorer.  By contrast, groups that support stronger restrictions on guns, such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, reported spending a mere $183,000 in Virginia over ...

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House freshmen: New members find new earmarks?

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L-R:Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.; Tom Reed, R-N.Y.; Robert Dold, R-Ill.; Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan.

More than two dozen first-term House members, part of an enormous freshman class swept into office on an anti-incumbent tide of disgust over Washington insider dealing, have introduced a combined 263 bills designed to benefit the bottom lines of hometown corporations.

An analysis of campaign finance records by the Sunlight Foundation shows that some of the corporations that stand to save money from bills aimed at temporarily suspending tariffs on products that the firms import are also campaign contributors to the members of Congress introducing ...

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