Shares Lobbying, Campaign Data - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Government // Leadership Shares Lobbying, Campaign Data

Latest federal data transparency site also delivers information on White House visitors, travel payments, and more.

Top 10 Open Government Websites
Top 10 Open Government Websites
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

The White House has launched yet another effort to increase government accountability and transparency with a new open-data site aimed at providing access to information concerning the government ethics. is live now and allows people to search through seven data sets that provide information about government lobbying, travel-payment transactions, and other data revealing the ins and outs of government operations that have previously been unreleased.

"Never before has this measure of government-verified data been available and so easily searchable in a centralized location," White House officials said in a blog post.

The seven types of data made available on the site are: White House visitor records, Office of Government Ethics travel reports, Lobbying Disclosure Act data, Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act data, Federal Election Commission individual contribution reports, Federal Election Commission candidate reports, and Federal Election Commission committee reports.

[ You have until April 30 to use federal business data to create a winning app. See Commerce Dept. Offers $10,000 For Entrepreneur Apps. ]

The data includes agency reports of payments from non-federal sources for travel to meetings and conferences; records for organizations registered with the Federal Election Commission such as political action committees, party committees, and presidential campaign committees; and records for political candidates who have registered with the commission or appeared on a ballot list prepared by a state elections office, among other information, according to the post. The new site also includes data on lobbying registrations and reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

President Obama long promised he would "create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable, and downloadable format," and the website is the fulfillment of that promise, officials said.

However, the director of a government watchdog group that has criticized open-government efforts in the past urged caution when giving the feds too much credit for creating the new site.

Because the federal government historically has not hastened to be its own ethics watchdog, the site is a big step, said John Wonderlich, policy director of the independent government watchdog group The Sunlight Foundation. However, it remains to be seen how useful it is or how accountable it makes officials, he said.

"We should be clear about what this new site does and doesn't do--neither money and politics research nor executive branch oversight are going to be revolutionized by this search page--at least not yet," he said, in a blog post on the foundation's website. "But we should also remember that this is a very new role for the White House to be playing. was a tricky promise to fulfill, which is probably part of the reason it's taken almost four years to implement." joins a number of other open-data efforts the administration has enacted since the first day Obama took office and signed the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government., the unified repository of data sets from across all government agencies, is the effort's crown jewel and linchpin.

Spinoffs of that repository, such as the Federal IT Dashboard, which was just updated this week, also support federal open-data activities.

How 10 federal agencies are tapping the power of cloud computing--without compromising security. Also in the new, all-digital InformationWeek Government supplement: To judge the success of the OMB's IT reform efforts, we need concrete numbers on cost savings and returns. Download our Cloud In Action issue of InformationWeek Government now. (Free registration required.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT Careers: 10 Industries with Job Openings Right Now
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/27/2020
How 5G Rollout May Benefit Businesses More than Consumers
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/21/2020
IT Leadership in Education: Getting Online School Right
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/20/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
Flash Poll