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Is the congressional power to create U.S. law being sold to highest spender? Are members of both houses acting on outside interests instead of the interests of the American people? The following sources will allow you to find exact dollar amounts flowing through Congress, track campaign contributions to the member, and track how the member voted, among other ways money can influence politics.
These sources are free to anyone:
Followthemoney.org -- Provides free access to federal and state level campaign contributions. Data can also be accessed through an API or downloaded.
LobbyView -- via MIT, allows tracking of lobby funds going back to the late 1990's for many organizations, companies, cities, etc. Track by organization or bill number. Also provides access to lobbying disclosure forms.
Provides tracking of the flow of money in politics at the federal level with some state information from 1980 to the present. Enables tracking of contributions from Political Action Committees (PACs), individual donors to politicians, elected officials, and party committees; follow soft money through 527 groups, and retrieve information on thousands of lobbyists, indexed by client and issue. (Congressional Quarterly)
Use the Vote Tables to see how each member of congress voted on bills back to 1945. Recent votes may be delayed a year or two due to CQ's publishing patterns.
Building on the reporting and analysis done throughout the year by CQ's news staff, the Almanac offers original narrative accounts of every major piece of legislation that lawmakers considered during a congressional session. Arranged thematically, CQ Almanac organizes, distills, and cross-indexes the full year in Congress and in national politics. Its clear and concise language makes the Almanac an essential resource for scholars, journalists, interested citizens, and students of the U.S. legislative system.
Tracking Current U.S. Congressional Bills
Tracking a bill through Congress can be exciting. The following links will allow you to track current bills, though there are many other similar sites and tools on the internet.
Congress.gov -- Official Congressional site. Sign up for a free account, then search for the bill(s) you are interested in.
GovTrack.us -- Sign up for a free account, then search for the bill(s) you are interested in
Opencongress.org -- Sign up for a free account, then search for the bill(s) you are interested in.
Congress rarely considers bills in a linear fashion. There are many rules, procedures and precedents that may affect how a bill makes its way though the House and the Senate. The sources below detail Congressional Procedure in both chambers.
Trying to figure out what was influencing Congress is a goal of many researchers. The following databases will allow you to search for articles and books that will provide background and context into Congressional actions and proceedings. For current issues, another good source to check are the major newspapers (Washington Post, NYT, etc). Also consider following groups on issues you are interested in--many of these will put out statements on about/for/against legislation.
In-depth reports on congressional issues, plus a wrapup of the previous weekâ€™s news, including bill status, committee and floor activity, debates, and all roll-call votes.
Provides nonpartisan information about US government and congressional affairs and subjects of concern. This online version also provides access to some articles prior to when they appear in the print version of CQ Weekly. Part of the CQ Electronic Library collection.
The National Journal and its associated publications provide a comprehensive view of current politics and policy at the federal level in the United States.
Indexes National Journal, The Hotline which tracks American politics and campaigns with coverage of each day's events, Congress Daily, Technology Daily, Almanac of American Politics, Poll Track and others to provide a comprehensive resource on politics and policy.
Reference guide providing comprehensive coverage of Congressional action from 1945 to 2004 including in-depth review and analysis of legislation and policy during each Congressional session and presidential term, organized by policy area.
Provides detailed coverage of the events, trends, and controversies of the US Congress and Presidency from 1945 to 2004. Includes analysis of bills that passed/did not pass Congress, historical context for legislation, and brief histories of key legislation. Part of the CQ Electronic Library collection.
Includes all key English-language historical journals; selected historical journals from major countries, state, and local history journals; and a targeted selection of hundreds of journals in the social sciences and humanities.
Index of journals on the history of the US and Canada from prehistory to the present.
Full-text information and perspectives from U.S. and international news sources. (America's newspapers - NewsBank - global newsbank)
Provides full-text information and perspectives from over 600 U.S. and over 700 international sources. Offers strong regional coverage, indexing more than California newspapers such as Contra Costa Times (1995-current), Sacramento Bee (1984-current), San Francisco Chronicle (1985-current), and San Jose Mercury News (1985-current). Search categories include: California newspapers (121 titles), Greater Los Angeles (54 titles), major metropolitan titles (13 titles), Spanish-language news sources (48 titles), the World (almost 2000 titles), US (855 titles).
Access to national and regional newspapers from across the U.S.
Includes New York Times (full text, Historical, 1881-1985, with Index, 1851-1993 + 1980-current). Los Angeles Times (full text, Historical, 1881-2010 + 1985-current). Wall Street Journal (full text, Historical, 1889-1995 + 1984-current). Chicago Tribune (full text, Historical 1849-2010 + 1895- current). The Washington Post (full text, Historical, 1877-2002, 1987-current). Also indexes the New York Times Magazine (indexed from 1986-current, full text from 1997), the New York Times Book Review (indexed from 1986-current, full text from 1997), and the WSJ: the Wall Street Journal Magazine (full text from 2011-present).
Indexes books, journals, and dissertations within the field of political science and related to comparative politics, developing nations, history and theory of political science, political psychology, political economy, public administration, and public policy. [1975 - present]
Indexes books, journals, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, and web sources related to public policy, politics, economics, and social issues worldwide. (Public Affairs Information Service) [1915 - present]
Includes publications from over 120 countries. Some of the indexed materials are published in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. The Archive covers English-language material only.
Indexes policy briefs, working papers, maps, course packs, journals, books, videos, internet sources, and conference proceedings from research institutes worldwide related to international affairs theory, analysis, and advocacy. [1991 - present]
Also includes links to international affairs Internet sources.