Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cool Tool

The folks at Open Secrets have come up with a dandy new tool to show who is engaged in buying our government.

Today, we at are unveiling our newest tool to track the influence of organizations here in Washington: at-a-glance profiles that tie together the many different types of information the Center for Responsive Politics collects on any given organization, including campaign contributions, lobbying expenses and even how many members of Congress invest in a company. In the past, we've maintained all of this data, but unless an organization qualified as a "heavy hitter," the various pieces of information were found in separate locations.

Now, however, you can get that info on any organization Open Secrets has been tracking (and there are plenty of them) in a handy one-page form. All you have to do is go to the gateway page, which has charts suggesting some of the usual suspects and a search box if you're looking for something specific not listed amongst the "heavy hitters".

For example, I clicked on my favorite target, the Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfgrs of America (PHRMA) and up popped a nifty one-page snapshot which shows how much was spent on lobbying and on which issues/bills, shows how much was spent on campaign contributions and the recipients, and shows the "revolving door" aspect by noting how many lobbyists were former government employees.

This is a great tool if you are as deeply concerned as I am with the way our government operates and who holds the keys. I urge you to play around with this for a little while. I think you'll be surprised.



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