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May 31, 2012 - by David Moore

The U.S. Congress is a baffling, systemically-corrupt, closed-off institution. OpenCongress works every day to make its workings more accessible and give you the real story behind what's happening. 

Help us keep OpenCongress alive as a free & open-source public resource.

OpenCongress will launch a new fundraising drive next month and we need some volunteer web development time to make it happen. Click through to see how you can help. 

 

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As 2011 ends, the first session of the 112th U.S. Congress stumbles to a bad-faith curtain. The third branch of federal government in our representative democracy, Congress is down to a new record-low 11% approval rating, as per Gallup News this week. "This earns Congress a 17% yearly average for 2011, the lowest annual congressional approval rating in Gallup history," they report. USA #1 - we've hit a new bottom! These are the despised, fallible elected officials who write legislation shaping our laws, public policy priorities, & federal budget.

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Via public policy blogger Ezra Klein of the WaPo, please read and bookmark and share with gusto this must-read article by George Packer in that esteemed publication, The New Yorker magazine. It's called "The Empty Chamber: Filibusters and arcane obstructions in the Senate", and we're boosting it as a must-read, worth your time because of how the Senate's essential dysfunction affects the lives of every single American (both in our daily lives and in the possibility of a sane, sustainable, healthy future).

As we're screaming, the whole essay is essential reading -- the Upper House of the United States Congress is fundamentally broken and corrupt and in semi-denial of its sad state, with disastrous effects on the strength of our nation. But the key excerpt might be this simple sentence: "Nothing dominates the life of a senator more than raising money." We spoke out on these exact issues last week in our major blog post round-up, "Congress Is Broken". Click through for more info, helpful links, hopeful prescriptive cures, and even more reasons to make a tax-deductible donation to support our non-profit work.

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The current U.S. Congress is broken and corrupt. By broken, we mean the un-democratic rules of the U.S. Senate have crashed the system. By corrupt, we don't mean one party or another -- the ethics of the institution itself have crumbled in the wave of money in politics. We're working to fix it, as part of the reform community. And we have a good start, but there's a lot yet to do.

For us, it all comes down to this basic point: transparency, and only total transparency, breeds public trust. Click through to see examples and successful use cases of how people have used OpenCongress over the past year for greater transparency in our government and to get involved with Congress on the issues of health care reform, financial reform, and unemployment benefits. Then, please support our non-profit work with a tax-deductible donation.

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