Thursday, September 17, 2009

Holding Politicians Accountable

The Center for Responsive Politics' (CRP) OpenSecrets.org Web site is a treasure trove of information on the influence of money on U.S. politics, a "a clearinghouse for data and analysis on multiple aspects of money in politics—the independent interest groups called 527s committees, federal lobbying, Washington’s “revolving door”, privately sponsored congressional travel and the personal finances of members of Congress, the president and other officials."

For example, a common refrain heard from politicians during an election year is their goal to do away with "pork" spending and earmarks. The CRP, along with Taxpayers for Common Sense, has put together a sortable chart detailing earmarks and campaign contributions for FY '08 and FY '09 that is enlightening to say the least. Virginia politicians don't appear to be too abusive, but check out the entry for David Loebsack (D-Iowa)!

The easy-to-use search tool allows you to look up information by the donor, person (politician or other person's name), zip code, organization, keyword or industry. The Most Popular Searches feature allows you to see what stories other users are digging into on the site (Hilary Clinton, natch). The Quick Links section provides you with direct access to the most frequently used tools on the site such as member profiles, political action committees (PACs) and various races.

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