It’s Time To Make Taxpayer-Funded Congressional Reports Available To The Public

This piece was originally published in the Daily Caller and co-authored by R Street Institute technology policy program director Zach Graves. American taxpayers support the $140 million a year expenditures of the Congressional Research Service, an independent and highly influential think tank housed within the Library of Congress. The agency’s mission is to advise members and committees […]

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House launches a public-facing phone directory for all staff

As promised at the 2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference, the House of Representatives launched a public-facing phone directory for all its staff. This is a tremendously useful tool. It provides authentic, up-to-date information on the people who work in the people’s house. While it (reasonably) does not contain email addresses, it has phone numbers, […]

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Kudos to House of Reps. for Releasing its Spending Info as Data

Today the House of Representatives published its spending information as structured data (a CSV) in addition to printing three volumes of tables. This is the second time it has done so. (I wrote about it the last time it happenedand why it is important for accountability.) Okay, Senate, it’s your turn. Publish your semi-annual spending […]

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The Constitution (Annotated) In Your Pocket

After a powerful speech by Khizr Khan at the Democratic National Convention, sales of pocket U.S. Constitutions have skyrocketed, becoming the second best selling book on Amazon. This is great! But the words of the Constitution are unsufficient to provide an understanding into how it has been applied by the courts over the last two […]

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Report from the 2016 Legislative Data & Transparency Conference

Today the House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration hosted its fifth annual Legislative Data & Transparency Conference in the U.S. Capitol. The Conference brought together staff from House and Senate and legislative support offices, civil society advocates, technologists, overseas legislatures, and featured a speech by House Speaker Paul Ryan. More than 150 people attended, […]

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2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference is this Tuesday, June 21

The House’s Legislative Data and Transparency Conference is this Tuesday, June 21, from 9-4, in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium in Washington, DC. RSVP here. The conference brings together individuals from Legislative Branch agencies with data users and transparency advocates to foster a conversation about the use of legislative data – addressing how agencies use technology […]

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House of Reps’ Spending Info Is Now Online as Data

Yesterday the House of Representatives began publishing its spending data online as a spreadsheet (and continued publishing it online as a PDF file). As Josh Tauberer explains in Open Government Data: The Book, the compilation of spending data, known as the Statements of Disbursements, includes “how much congressmen and their staffs are paid, what kinds of […]

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Data Coalition Celebrates New Open Data Law on Capitol Hill

On Wednesday, the Data Coalition hosted a Legislative Data Demo Day to show what’s possible when we make our laws and legislation more accessible. Across all of our policy initiatives, the Data Coalition encourages federal and state governments to create or collect data in machine-readable structures using non-proprietary formats. This past Wednesday we explored how […]

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Next Steps in Congressional Openness: News from the May Bulk Data Task Force Meeting

The 21 year-old legislative information website THOMAS will be retired on July 5 was the top news from last Wednesday’s congressional Bulk Access to Legislative Data public meeting. The fact that THOMAS was shutting down was not news, but the timing was. While it didn’t generate a story in the press, two other developments are particularly important regarding […]

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So Long, THOMAS

The Library of Congress announced that the legislative information website THOMAS is scheduled to stop functioning on July 5, with Congress.gov to replace its functionality. This will allow the Library to focus all its energy on Congress.gov instead of having also to maintain a very awkward, 21-year-old website.

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