The website OpenCongress.org was launched today by the Participatory Politics Foundation with help from the Sunlight Foundation. As stated on the website: “OpenCongress brings together official government data with news and blog coverage to give you the real story behind each bill” and also “OpenCongress is a free, open-source, non-profit, and non-partisan web resource with a mission to help make Congress more transparent and to encourage civic engagement.” The site incorporates:
- Official Congressional information from Thomas, made available by GovTrack.us: bills, votes, committee reports, and more.
- News articles about bills and Members of Congress from Google News.
- Blog posts about bills and Members of Congress from Google Blog Search and Technorati.
- Campaign contribution information for every Member of Congress from the website of the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, OpenSecrets.org.
- Congress Gossip Blog: a blog written by the site editors of OpenCongress that highlights useful news and blog reporting from around the web. The blog also solicits tips, either anonymous or attributed, from political insiders, citizen journalists, and the public in order to build public knowledge about Congress.
According to Govtrack creator Josh Tauberer, “OpenCongress is based (mostly) on the data set that GovTrack assembles and makes available for others to reuse, so I’m particularly happy that someone has finally reused it to make something new. As you can see from the front pages of the two sites, the focuses of the sites are fairly different, GovTrack being mostly reference and tracking, while OpenCongress is taking a stab at some analysis.”