The New York Times has just announced an API that makes available the data they have gleaned from the Federal Election Commission’s electronic filings for the presidential candidates.
“The initial version of the Campaign Finance API offers overall figures for presidential candidates, as well as state-by-state and ZIP code totals for specific candidates. In addition, the API supports a contributor name search using any of the following parameters: first name, last name and ZIP code.”
This allows people with the appropriate technical skills to build mashups and other web services that take a look at donations by individual or by area with relative ease. In essence it is now possible for web developers to create views on this valuable data that previously would have involved digging through millions of FEC electronic filings.
It should also be possible for researchers with moderate technical knowledge to analyze the individual contributions going to candidates to perform statistical and other analysis on what makes for a very interesting dataset.
The New York times providing this service is certainly a positive step towards helping people make use of what is one of the richest (pun not intended) datasets the federal government has to offer.
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