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Tag Archive: Institute on Money in State Politics

ProgrammableGov

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ProgrammableWeb recently launched a new central resource of over a dozen government-related mashups and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to improve access to legislative, civic and political information.

ProgrammableWeb is already a major hub for the Web 2.0 technology community around its directories of mashups and Web service APIs. The new site is now listing Web applications that help citizens examine and remix government data to shed more light on the work of the federal government.

ProgrammableGov's APIs and Mashup Dashboard currently offers government information APIs and mashups developed by government agencies and those developed independently by citizens and transparency advocate organizations, including several created or supported by the Sunlight Foundation.

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APIs from IMSP in Official Use

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Last week, the Institute on Money in State Politics annouced the launch of their APIs that give outside Web developers the ability to access and display the Institute's data on their own Web sites, to program fully interactive displays using Institute data within their Web pages, and to create applications that return live data from FollowTheMoney.org.

The first group to jump into using APIs is Project Vote Smart. Here's what it looks like on the Project Vote Smart Web site.

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First APIs Available

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Already the Sunlight Mash-Up Labs announced in May is striding toward my fantasy of one-click political influence disclosure. Last week, Lab Co-director, Greg Elin, guided me through the results of a week of "hacking" with Mike Krejci, lead programmer for The Institute of Money in State Politics. Supported by a small grant from the Sunlight Foundation, Greg went to Portland, Oregon and helped Mike begin work on The Institute's "web services API".

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Not Shutting Down Quite Yet

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Not everyone is quite ready to gear down for the long July 4th weekend. Our colleagues in Montana at the Institute on State Money and Politics, for example, just published their first newsletter. Check it out here.

The Institute -- also known as the DataShaq -- is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that compiles and analyzes campaign contribution reports for state-level candidates, political party committees and ballot issue committees. Their database of more than 15 million records is available on their Website, and is easily searchable within a given state and election year, as well as across the 50 states and multiple election cycles. It provides a wealth of information on the forces behind campaign contributions and public-policy discussions in the states. If you don't know their work, and are involved in state-based advocacy, you should. Greg Elin, who heads the Sunlight Labs, has been working with them for most of this week to develop their first APIs. Sounds like that work has gone extremely well.

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Mo’ Money

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At the end of last week the Sunlight Foundation made a number of new grants. We're really excited about the potential of each of them.

The work of ReadtheBill.org (which I've talked about before) is a hugely important effort. It could end the practice of ramming bills through Congress in the dark of night -- bills that are filled with favors for special interests, earmarks, and heaven only knows ((truly) what else. And think of what activists can cook up (particularly online) if they have 72 hours to read legislation and get citizens to weigh in. We think that ReadtheBill.org will make a huge difference in making Congress' work more transparent and in engaging citizens.

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A Taste of the Future in Montana

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I just got back from a long weekend of marathon meetings in Montana – the unlikely home of an outfit I’ve been working informally with since the early 1990s, the Institute on Money in State Politics.

Here at Sunlight we’re focusing on Congress, but out there in Helena, Montana IMSP tracks campaign money at the state level. Their website at www.followthemoney.org is the gateway to all this information. Essentially it’s a state-level counterpart to the DC-based Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzes federal contributions.

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