The Power of Congresspedia: Linking Articles on Legislation to Profiles of Members of Congress

I've blogged previously about how the Congresspedia staff is working with research and advocacy organizations to build articles on federal legislation, but one particular aspect of these collaborations deserves highlighting: the ability to link the Congresspedia profiles of members of Congress to those on pieces of legislation. The legislative articles can get fairly complex in detailing the interactions between various members and committees, but because the site also has articles on each senator and representative, the role of a specific member can be summarized and placed in their personal profile. Much of Congresspedia's traffic comes from search engines where citizens are looking for information on their own senators and representatives, and this allows them to read about actions that would normally never get beyond DC-insider publications.

For the article on oil and gas royalties we've been working on with the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), for example, we've placed information in the profiles of Sens. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) on their sponsorship of legislation that opened up drilling in the Gulf of New Mexico and directed the profits to the gulf states and a conservation fund. The profile of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) also now mentions that she led a filibuster effort in 2000 to overcome stalling by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) to close loopholes that let oil and gas companies underpay royalties to the government by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Take a look through the directory of Congresspedia articles of legislation, though a little bird tells me a fancy new legislative portal will be unveiled in the coming weeks. If you belong to, work for or know of a research or advocacy organization that would be interested in moving some of their materials into Congresspedia or SourceWatch articles, here's the page that explains how to get started.