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Tag Archive: SOPR

Measuring Lobbyists with Raspberry Pi

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A few of us in the labs dabble in hardware hacking, and we were all pretty excited by the debut of the Raspberry Pi. So when we saw that MAKE Magazine was running a contest for creative uses of the Pi, we figured we'd better enter. As it happens, I had picked up a handsome vintage voltmeter at Uncommon Objects during a recent trip to Austin, and had been toying with the idea of making it Pi-enabled. With this competition for inspiration I decided to take the plunge.

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Another Week, Another Lobbying Update

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From the Center for Responsive Politics. Year-end lobbying reports for 2007 are still trickling out from the Senate Office of Public Records. The total spent on federal lobbying last year is now up to $2.3 billion, but we know there are still reports that haven't been made available electronically yet. Based on the 2006 total, the missing data for '07 could total $300 million or more. We'll update OpenSecrets.org's Lobbying Database again next week with any new data.

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Senate Provides Better Tool for Tracking Lobbyists

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The Senate Office of Public Records launched an enhanced database for lobbying disclosure on New Year's Eve, one that allows users for the first time to search previously unsearchable fields like "specific lobbying issue." What this means is that you can plug in a bill number -- say S. 681, the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act -- and find out that 19 organizations disclosed lobbying on the bill, including top political donors Citigroup, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, Exxon Mobil and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Perhaps it should be expected that the Swiss Bankers Association also has an interest in the legislation... Pam Gavin, SOPR's Superintendent of Public Records, says that about 90 percent of the 2007 mid-year lobbying reports are fully searchable, and going forward in 2008, 100 percent of them will be. She also helpfully pointed out that the whole database is now downloadable, year by year--the data is available here. Note: If you're having trouble seeing the new site, you might want to empty your cache.

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