More on counting laws and discrepancies in the Resume of Congressional Activity

After my last post yesterday about Congress incorrectly counting the new laws in 2013, Daniel Schuman (of CREW) suggested that I look at previous installments of the Resume of Congressional Activity to see if there were other long-standing discrepancies in these historical counts of the number of laws passed by each Congress.

I went through each of the PDFs listed at https://www.senate.gov/pagelayout… and compared the totals by Congress (a Congress is a two-year period of legislative activity), and then compared those totals to other sources.Continue Reading

Timeline of US legislative documents and data

1844
  • The message, “What hath God wrought?” sent later by “Morse Code” from the old Supreme Court chamber in the United States Capitol to Samuel Morse’s partner in Baltimore, officially opened the completed telegraph line of May 24, 1844. (1)
1845
  • The private firm, Little, Brown, and Company, began publishing the Statutes at Large under authority granted by a joint resolution of the 28th Congress. (1)
1859
  • Charles Lanman, an author and former secretary to Daniel Webster, assembled the first collection of biographies of former and sitting Members for his Dictionary of Congress. (1)
1873

Transparency and liberty

John McGinnis has some kind words for work I oversee at the Cato Institute in a recent blog post of his entitled: “The Internet–A Technology for Encompassing Interests and Liberty.”

As he points out, the information environment helps determine outcomes in political systems because it controls who is in a position to exercise power.

The history of liberty has been in no small measure the struggle between diffuse and encompassing interests, on the one hand, and special interests, on the other.  Through their concentrated power, special interests seek to use the state to their benefit, while diffuse Continue Reading