Money & Politics: Illuminating the Connection

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Talk about MAPLight.org given to San Francisco Bay Region Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, June 3, 2009

Talk about MAPLight.org given to San Francisco Bay Region Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, June 3, 2009

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Transcript

  • 1. Steve Toub Research Associate
  • 2. My Background
    • 17 yrs in & around non-traditional libraries
      • Never worked in same place as print collection
      • Never did face-to-face reference
    • What led me to MAPLight.org
    • Hired to do what metadata librarians do
      • Analyze, map, normalize, enrich metadata
      • Help manage metadata repository that aggregates diverse data sets
  • 3. About the Organization
    • Nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c) 3
    • Supported by
      • Foundations
        • Sunlight Foundation
        • Rockefeller Brothers Fund
        • Others
      • Individual donors
    • 5 staff, 8 research interns
    • Downtown Berkeley
  • 4. Organizational Vision
    • Money’s influence on politics becomes the number one political issue
    • Federal, state and city governments implement citizen-funded financing of political campaigns
  • 5. Organizational Focus
    • Publishing data and tools
    • that allow journalists, bloggers,
    • nonprofit groups and citizens
    • to make the connection between
    • campaign contributions
    • and the legislative process
  • 6.  
  • 7.  
  • 8.  
  • 9. Types of Policy Transparency
    • From the Transparency Policy Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
    • Explanatory transparency
      • Explaining issues, policies and programs
    • Procedural transparency
      • Provide insight into how & why decisions are made
    • Regulatory transparency systems
      • Disclosure and reporting incentives and requirements
      • Dissemination in ways people can truly understand
  • 10.  
  • 11.  
  • 12. Eight Principles that Define Open Government Data
    • http://www.opengovdata.org/
    • 1. Complete
    • All public data are made available. Public data are data that are not subject to valid privacy, security of privilege limitations.
    • 2. Primary
    • Data are collected at the source, with the finest possible level of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms.
    • 3. Timely
    • Data are made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data.
    • 4. Accessible
    • Data are available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes.
  • 13. Eight Principles that Define Open Government Data
    • 5. Machine processable
    • Data are reasonably structured to allow automated processing.
    • 6. Non-discriminatory
    • Data are available to anyone, with no requirement of registration.
    • 7. Non-proprietary
    • Data are available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control.
    • 8. License-free
    • Data are not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security and privilege restrictions may be allowed.
  • 14. MAPLight.org
  • 15. Campaign contributions… $
  • 16. …and legislative votes $ votes
  • 17. $700 Billion Financial Bailout
    • Banks & securities firms gave an average of
      • $212,700 to politicians voting yes
      • $150,982 to politicians voting no
  • 18.  
  • 19. Telecom Immunity for Cooperating with Warrantless Wiretapping
    • AT&T, Verizon and Sprint PAC contributions
      • $8,359 to each Democrat who flipped
        • Opposed retroactive immunity in March 2008 amendment but supported the June 2008 bill that included immunity
      • $4,987 to each Democrat who did not flip
        • Opposed retroactive immunity in March and June
  • 20.  
  • 21. Reported Campaign Contributions
    • As reported by government
      • Federal Election Commission
      • California Secretary of State
      • Los Angeles City Ethics Commission
    • Contributions less than disclosure threshold omitted
    • We expose only contributions to officeholders
      • Candidates who lost don’t get to vote
    $
  • 22. Legislative Roll Call Votes
    • U.S. Congress
      • Only floor votes; no committee votes
    • California State Legislature
    • Los Angeles City Council
      • Later this year
    $ votes
  • 23. Data Sources OpenSecrets.org GovTrack.us NIMSP State government websites $ votes
  • 24.  
  • 25.  
  • 26. Obtaining Legislative Data
    • California status
      • Lawsuit continues
    • Sunlight Labs’ Fifty State Project
      • Announced in February 2009
      • First 10 days: 8 states done
      • Today: 25 states have scraper code, 11 more in progress
    • U.S. Congress
      • Senate votes became available in XML in May
      • Still want committee votes
      • Would like data in addition to campaign contributions
        • real-time lobbying disclosure
        • better disclosure of earmarks
  • 27. Our value add is… Support & Opposition
    • Gathered from:
    • Hearing testimony
    • News databases
    • Websites
    $ votes
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  • 37. June 4, 2003
  • 38.  
  • 39. Don’t like the default categories?
  • 40.  
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  • 54. H.R. 801 – Fair Copyright in Research Works Act
    • Would reverse NIH’s open access mandate
      • passed by Congress in December 2007
    • Would amend copyright law
      • create a new class of copyrighted material: stuff that your tax dollars paid for
      • to make it illegal for the government to require that works that are the result of government funding (not just NIH) be freely available
  • 55.  
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  • 58. Projects that went live in May
    • Los Angeles site
      • The first jurisdiction where we coded contributors into special interest categories
      • Phase two will include legislative data
    • Bill Positions API
      • Provides citations of organizations that support and oppose bills, primarily for 110th and 111th Congress
      • Simple read-only REST API
        • Four methods, allowing you to search by organization or bill
        • Responses in JSON and XML
  • 59. Current Projects: Web Redesign
    • Focus on usability
      • Improving information design
      • Improving interaction design
    • Some backend improvements
      • Migrating to Drupal 6 and CiviCRM 2.2
      • Moving search from MySQL to Solr
  • 60. Current Projects: Metadata
    • Redesign how we research bill positions
      • Want data to come to us automagically, rather than have interns hunt and peck
      • Shift in orientation from bill as a whole to votes
      • Start including which industries benefit from legislation rather than those that explicitly support
    • Normalizing and de-duping contributors, especially names of organizations
      • Planning to expose all contributors/contributions
    • Plan for expansion into all 50 states
    • Assess viability of including other datasets
      • Project Vote Smart API
      • Lobbying
      • Earmarks
  • 61. Questions?
    • [email_address]
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