Third Party Websites That Transform Government Data

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Contents

Introduction

This wiki page contains a list of government and third party websites that make government information available, almost always at no cost.


Free Sources of Gov't Data

Free Sources of Influence Data

Tools



Third Party Websites Organized by Type

U.S. Congress

Legislation

  • GovTrack: http://www.govtrack.us/ - "GovTrack.us is an independent tool to help the public research and track the activities in the U.S. Congress, promoting and innovating government transparency and civic education through novel uses of technology."
  • Open Congress: http://www.opencongress.org/ - "OpenCongress brings together official government data with news and blog coverage, social networking, public participation tools, and more to give you the real story behind what's happening in Congress."


Other

  • Congressional Chronicle: http://www.c-spanarchives.org/congress/ - "An index to the C-SPAN video recordings of the House and Senate floor proceedings. The video recordings are matched with the text of the Congressional Record as soon as the Record is available. It only includes members who appeared on the floor to deliver or insert their remarks. The text included here is what the member submitted."
  • Earmark Watch: http://earmarkwatch.org/ - "EarmarkWatch is an experimental distributed research project that contains data for Fiscal Year 2008 earmarks from the House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education bills and the 2008 House Defense Bill."
  • LegiStorm: http://www.legistorm.com/ - "LegiStorm's first information product was a database of congressional staff salaries but we have now added other valuable information, such as the most comprehensive database of all privately financed trips taken by members of Congress and congressional staffers."
  • Subsidy Scope: http://www.subsidyscope.com/ - "Subsidyscope, launched by The Pew Charitable Trusts, aims to raise public awareness about the role of federal subsidies in the economy."

U.S. Congress Legislative Support Information

  • Open CRS: http://opencrs.com/ - "Open CRS provides citizens access to CRS Reports already in the public domain and encourages Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports"

State Legislation

  • NOLA ($): http://www.nolamembers.org/ - Note: there is a fee for using much of this information - "Our members are online legislative information providers."
  • State surge: http://www.statesurge.com/ - "StateSurge is a law and legislation management system designed to help its users track legislation and manage legislative events. Registered users can received automated notifications on any changes in law and legislation as well as quickly build reports and communicate effectively through our integrated newsletter system."
  • State Net ($): http://statenet.com/ - "State Net monitors every bill in the 50 states, District of Columbia and Congress and every state agency regulation."

Federal Influence Data

  • FARA Database: http://foreignlobbying.org/ - "Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker, a joint project of ProPublica and the Sunlight Foundation, digitizes information that representatives of foreign governments, political parties and government-controlled entities must disclose to the U.S. Justice Department when they seek to influence U.S. policy."
  • LittleSis: http://littlesis.org/ - "LittleSis is an involuntary facebook of powerful Americans, collaboratively edited by people like you. We bring transparency to influential social networks by tracking the key relationships of politicians, corporate executives, lobbyists, financiers, and their affiliated organizations."
  • Maplight: http://maplight.org/ - "MAPLight.org, a groundbreaking public database, illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways."
  • Money Track at Political Base: http://www.politicalbase.com/money/ - "Data aggregated from the FEC. All records are based on $200+ contributions to campaigns except for the 2008 Presidential campaigns, which include sub-$200 transactions as well."
  • Open Secrets: http://www.opensecrets.org/ - "OpenSecrets.org is your nonpartisan guide to money’s influence on U.S. elections and public policy. "
  • Party Time: http://www.politicalpartytime.org/ - "From the early hours of the morning until late in the evening, politicians are partying. Sunlight's PARTY TIME can help you find out who is partying, where and when."

Out of Date

  • Fortune 535 (out of date): http://sunlightfoundation.com/projects/2007/fortune535/ - "Nevertheless, Sunlight has calculated the average net worth for each member of Congress in 1995 (or their first year in Congress, for those individuals elected after 1995) and charted that number alongside the average net worth calculated by the Center for Responsive Politics for 2006."
  • Punch Clock Map (out of date): http://sunlightfoundation.com/projects/2007/punchclockmap/ - "It provided a visual representation of the meetings detailed in each member's schedule, to make it easy for everyone to see whom lawmakers have met with and how they serve their district's needs."
  • Where Are They Now? (out of date): http://wherearetheynow.sunlightprojects.org/ - "For those top staff members whose bosses resigned, retired or were voted out of office, the one year “cooling off period”–during which they are not allowed to lobby their former colleagues on Capitol Hill–is coming to an end. Lower level staffers have been able to work the Hill all year. Let's see which staffers of former members have gone through the revolving door. "

State Influence Data

Federal Law and Regulations

  • Cornell LII: http://www.law.cornell.edu/ - "The Legal Information Institute (LII) is a research and electronic publishing activity of the Cornell Law School."
  • GovPulse: http://govpulse.us/ - "By making such documents as the Federal Register searchable, more accessible and easier to digest, govepulse seeks to encourage every citizen to become more involved in the workings of their government and make their voice heard on the things that matter to them, from the smallest to the largest issues."
  • OpenRegs: http://openregs.com/ - "OpenRegs.com is an alternative to the federal government's Regulations.gov regulatory dockets database. "

The Courts

  • Altlaw: http://altlaw.org/ - "AltLaw is a free, full-text, searchable database of U.S. case law. Currently we provide cases from: Supreme Court, since 1805; Circuit Appeals Courts, since 1950"
  • Findlaw: http://www.findlaw.com/ - "FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business, is the world's leading provider of online legal information and Internet marketing solutions for law firms."
  • Oyez: http://www.oyez.org/ - "The Oyez Project is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work."
  • Pacer.Resource.Org RECAP Project: "https://www.recapthelaw.org/" - "RECAP is a free extension for Firefox that improves the experience of using PACER, the electronic public access system for the U.S. Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts."
  • Public Library of Law: http://plol.org/Pages/Search.aspx - "PLoL is the largest free law library in the world, because we assemble law available for free scattered across many different sites -- all in one place. PLoL is the best starting place to find law on the Web."
  • Precydent: http://precydent.com/ - "U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals cases.... [Answers the question of:] Why can't I just do my search with a few search words, like I do on Google?"
  • SCOTUSWiki: http://www.scotuswiki.com/ - "We’ve created a page for each case set for argument in the October sitting [of the U.S. Supreme Court], and at each case’s page, you’ll find detailed previews, recaps, and analyses, as well as links to briefs and other articles of interest."

Freedom of Information Act

  • Archive-It: http://www.archive-it.org/collections/924 - "Collection of sites that deal with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and documents. This includes government sites that receive and distribute FOIA documents as well as non-profit organizations and government watchdogs that request large numbers of FOIA documents on specific topics like national security and civil rights."
  • Government Attic: http://governmentattic.org/ - "Governmentattic.org provides electronic copies of hundreds of interesting Federal Government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act."
  • GovernmentDocs: http://governmentdocs.org/ - "This site gives the public an unprecedented level of access to government documents by allowing users to browse, search, and review hundreds of thousands of pages acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other public disclosure, or 'sunshine,' laws."
  • What Do They Know? (UK): http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/ - "You choose the public authority that you would like information from, then write a brief note describing what you want to know. We then send your request to the public authority. Any response they make is automatically published on the website for you and anyone else to find and read."

Government Expenditures, Grants, and Contracts

  • Contractor Misconduct: http://www.contractormisconduct.org/ - "In the absence of a centralized federal database listing instances of misconduct, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is providing such data."
  • FFATA Portal: http://www.ffata.org/ffata/ - "Bringing transparency to government spending. This is the place to learn how your tax dollars are working. Current data includes all contracts and grants awarded by different government agencies."
  • Preferential Trade Agreements Database: http://ptas.mcgill.ca/Pages%20ptas/welcome.htm - "The objective of the PTAs Database is to provide the text-searchable electronic versions of all the Custom Unions, Free Trade Agreements, and Preferential Arrangements that have been notified to the World Trade Organization's Committee on Regional Trade Agreements, and are in force, plus many that have not been notified to the WTO."
  • Transparent Federal Budget: http://transparentfederalbudget.com/ - "Our goal is to make the political process more transparent, in order to increase public visibility and accountability of government."

Entities Subject to Federal Regulation or Reporting Requirements

  • Guidestar: http://www2.guidestar.org/ - GuideStar is an information service specializing in U.S. nonprofit companies that provides information on more than 1.7 million IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations, including their Form 990s.
  • Google Patent Search: http://www.google.com/patents - "With Google Patent Search, you can now search the full text of the U.S. patent corpus and find patents that interest you."
  • Right To Know Network: http://www.rtknet.org/ - "The Right-to-Know Network provides free access to numerous databases and resources on the environment. With the information available on RTK NET, you can identify specific factories and their environmental effects; find permits issued under environmental statutes; and identify civil cases filed."
  • SEC Info: http://www.secinfo.com/ - "Securities Information from the SEC EDGAR database for sophisticated business professionals"

Voting (Election) Information

  • Voting Information Project: http://votinginfoproject.org/ - "The Voting Information Project is all about helping voters find information about their elections. To that end, we have developed an open data format with which state election divisions can publish their voting information. Other organizations or individuals, such as newspapers, search engines, and civic-minded technologists, will parse the data contributed by the states and disseminate the information in the form of easy-to-use websites, maps, and other tools."

Other Useful Websites

  • Missing Money: http://www.missingmoney.com/ - "State and provincial governments working together to safeguard and return your lost funds. "
  • New York Times 'Open' Blog with additional tools: http://open.blogs.nytimes.com/ - "A blog about open-source technology at The New York Times, written by and primarily for developers. This includes our own projects, our work with open-source technologies at NYTimes.com, and other interesting topics in the open-source and Web 2.0 worlds."
  • The Torture Archive: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/torture_archive/index.htm - "The goal of the Torture Archive is to become the online institutional memory for essential evidence on torture in U.S. policy.... more than 83,000 pages of primary source documents (and thousands more to come) related to the detention and interrogation of individuals by the United States, in connection with the conduct of hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in the broader context of the 'global war on terror.'"

Developers

  • New York Times Developer Network: http://developer.nytimes.com/ - API documentation and tools. "You already know that NYTimes.com is an unparalleled source of news and information. But now it's a premier source of data, too — why just read the news when you can hack it?"

Other Meta-Lists of Third Party Government Data

  • Policy Map: http://www.policymap.com/ - "[PolicyMap] captures data in visually powerful ways through custom maps, tables, reports, and our new analysis tool, Analytics. PolicyMap uses cutting edge technology that allows us to display highly sophisticated, fast and draggable maps in ordinary Web browsers."

International Websites

Toolbox