Anyone who’s looked at campaign finance data knows it can get messy really quick (especially if you’re getting it directly from the FEC). Sunlight Labs’ newly launched TransparencyData aims to make the process a lot easier.
They’ve merged state data from FollowTheMoney and federal data from OpenSecrets and made it easy to search with a clickable interface. Select from a number of filters such as amount, recipient, or contributor, and then download data in bulk or make use of the API.
Watch the brief overview below:
Okay, so we’ve got the data. Now what should we do with it? Gold stars for those who leave ideas in the comments below.
Here’s one thing we should do:
Require every company that makes campaign contributions and/or whose employees’ individual contributions reach a certain threshold to place a widget (250×300?) on the front page of their corp web site summarizing their contributions/lobbying expenses and linking to a standardized, SEO’d detail of all of their activity. It’s crazy that my campaign contributions show up on HuffPo but that corporate donations are buried under the sheer volume of other corp news/marketing.
Actually, we (http://periscopic.com) are shopping around an idea for widgetizing this information in a cool, informative, and interactive way. It would allow everyday people to see who’s buying whom. We’ll keep you posted.