The Best Campaign Finance Data Around, for FreeApril 13, 2009 - by Donny Shaw
The Center for Responsive Politics’ amazing OpenSecrets website, which tracks information on who is funding federal lawmakers’ campaigns, is opening up its data for web developers to reuse and remix however they like. From their blog:
For the first time in CRP’s 26-year history, the nonprofit research group’s most popular data archives are fully and freely downloadable for non-commercial purposes from the Center’s website, OpenSecrets.org — a four-time Webby winner for best politics site online. OpenSecrets.org will remain the go-to independent source for most users interested in tracking money’s political influence and, in fact, the site has some new general-interest features as of today. (More on those below.)
With today’s announcement, skilled data-divers can explore the information that’s already aggregated on OpenSecrets.org to its full depth. Web developers and database experts can grab federal money-in-politics data that CRP’s researchers have standardized and coded, and mash it up with other data sets. Timelines, charts, maps, other graphics and mobile applications are just some of the projects that could result—all powered by CRP’s unparalleled data.
At OpenCongress we have already been using data from OpenSecrets to display some basic campaign finance information for members of Congress (scroll to the bottom of Sen. Rockefeller’s page for an example). Having this information and more available to us in an API opens up a world of possibilities for using campaign-finance information throughout the site to further our mission of providing the real story behind what’s happening in Congress.