[okfn-discuss] Fwd: News from CRP: OpenSecrets.org goes OpenData

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri Apr 24 13:09:16 UTC 2009

Should we write to them gently pointing out that this isn't really
"open data" and asking them to remove the NC restriction in favour of
e.g. Share-Alike. It seems rather disappointing to have a dataset like
this with NC restrictions on it ...


2009/4/24 Jonathan Gray <jonathan.gray at okfn.org>:
> Just in case people haven't already seen this...
> (Its a shame data has NC restrictions!)
> J.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> OpenSecrets.org Goes OpenData
>  Award-winning website from the Center for Responsive Politics now
> provides 20 years of downloadable money-in-politics data -- for free
> MEDIA CONTACT: Massie Ritsch
> Communications Director
> Center for Responsive Politics
> Direct: (202) 354-0111
> E-mail: press at crp.org
> WASHINGTON (April 13, 2009) -- Politicians, prepare yourselves.
> Lobbyists, look out. Today the nonpartisan Center for Responsive
> Politics is putting 200 million data records from the watchdog group's
> archive directly into the hands of citizens, activists, journalists
> and anyone else interested in following the money in U.S. politics.
> For the first time in CRP's 26-year history, the nonprofit research
> group's most popular data archives are fully and freely downloadable
> for non-commercial purposes from the Center's website, OpenSecrets.org
> -- a four-time Webby winner for best politics site online.
> OpenSecrets.org will remain the go-to independent source for most
> users interested in tracking money's political influence and, in fact,
> the site has some new general-interest features as of today. (More on
> those below.)
> With today's announcement, skilled data-divers can explore the
> information that's already aggregated on OpenSecrets.org to its full
> depth. Web developers and database experts can grab federal
> money-in-politics data that CRP's researchers have standardized and
> coded, and mash it up with other data sets. Timelines, charts, maps,
> other graphics and mobile applications are just some of the projects
> that could result -- all powered by CRP's unparalleled data.
> "Putting our data into more hands will put more eyes on Washington
> and, we hope, engage more Americans in their government," CRP
> Executive Director Sheila Krumholz said. "We hope that more people
> counting cash will lead to more people making change."
> The OpenSecrets OpenData initiative is being generously underwritten
> by a three-year $1.2 million grant from Sunlight Foundation, which
> supports uses of the Internet to promote greater transparency of
> government and the interplay in Washington between money and public
> policy.
> "Building on its outstanding and long-earned reputation for accuracy
> and integrity, CRP is giving the public the keys to take government
> transparency to the next level," said Ellen Miller, Sunlight
> Foundation's executive director and co-founder. "This will have a
> long-term impact, undoubtedly inspiring many effective and creative
> uses of the data by civic hackers, journalists and bloggers."
> Center's Researchers Clean Up, Categorize Government Data
> The following data sets, along with a user guide, resource tables and
> other documentation, are now available in CSV format (comma-separated
> values, for easy importing) through OpenSecrets.org's Action Center at
> http://www.opensecrets.org/action/data.php:
> CAMPAIGN FINANCE: 195 million records dating to the 1989-1990 election
> cycle, tracking campaign fundraising and spending by candidates for
> federal office, as well as political parties and political action
> committees. CRP's researchers add value to Federal Election Commission
> data by cleaning up and categorizing contribution records. This allows
> for easier totaling by industry and company or organization, to
> measure special-interest influence.
> LOBBYING: 3.5 million records on federal lobbyists, their clients,
> their fees and the issues they reported working on, dating to 1998.
> Industry codes have been applied to this data, as well.
>  PERSONAL FINANCES: Reports from members of Congress and the executive
> branch that detail their personal assets, liabilities and transactions
> in 2004 through 2007. The reports covering 2008 will become available
> to the public in June, and the data will be available for download
> once CRP has keyed those reports.
> 527 ORGANIZATIONS: Electronically filed financial records beginning in
> the 2004 election cycle for the shadowy issue-advocacy groups known as
> 527s, which can raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, labor
> unions and individuals.
> To download bulk data from OpenSecrets.org, users must register on the
> site and agree to prominently credit the Center for Responsive
> Politics, along with other terms of service. CRP is making its data
> available through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share
> Alike license, which allows users to remix, tweak, build upon and
> share the Center's work non-commercially. CRP will continue to offer
> its data to commercial users for a negotiable fee.
> OpenSecrets.org also offers a number of APIs (Application Programming
> Interfaces) to give users direct access via web programming to data
> displayed on OpenSecrets.org. Web developers are already using these
> APIs to display OpenSecrets data on their web pages and create mashups
> using live, up-to-date data.
> Users can also share CRP data using OpenSecrets.org's widgets, which
> can be placed easily on any website or blog. New widgets for the 2010
> election cycle are in development.
> Another New Feature: Enhanced Politician Profiles
> In addition to making its data archives available, today the Center
> has enhanced its online campaign finance profiles for members of
> Congress. Visitors to OpenSecrets.org now have three options for
> viewing the top industries and contributors supporting a particular
> lawmaker: 1) money raised by the politician's campaign committee, 2)
> money raised by the politician's leadership PAC or 3) money raised by
> the campaign and PAC combined. More than 300 members of Congress are
> also linked to a political action committee, ostensibly to raise money
> to support other members of their party.
> "Campaign committees and leadership PACs are two of the deepest
> pockets in a politician's coat," Krumholz said, "so it's important to
> watch them together to see who's potentially building the most
> influence with a lawmaker."
> OpenSecrets.org's enhanced profiles for members of Congress also now
> allow users to download deeper tables of data-aggregated data and
> "top" rankings, but not individual records, in a variety of formats
> with one easy click. This feature will be integrated into other
> sections of OpenSecrets.org in the future.
> Krumholz said, "All these enhancements to OpenSecrets.org are about
> one thing: showing more people how money's influence on politics
> affects their lives--and empowering them to do something about it."
> #  #  #
> OpenSecrets.org's bulk data is now available for download through the
> site's Action Center at
> http://www.opensecrets.org/action/data.php.
> The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research
> group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and
> public policy. For more than 25 years the nonpartisan, nonprofit
> Center has aimed to create a more educated voter, an involved
> citizenry and a more responsive government. CRP's award-winning
> website, OpenSecrets.org, is the most comprehensive resource for
> campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis available anywhere.
> For other organizations and news media, CRP's exclusive data powers
> their online features tracking money in politics. CRP relies on
> support from a combination of foundation grants and individual
> contributions. The Center accepts no contributions from businesses,
> labor unions or trade associations.
> --
> Jonathan Gray
> Community Coordinator
> The Open Knowledge Foundation
> http://www.okfn.org
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