For all the talk in DC about transparency in government, that seemed (at least in my sense) to really come to the forefront of everyone’s attention with the House Rules on social media use issue last July, then escalated with the Senate, the bailouts and finally the election of one of the most social media savvy presidents ever, the status quo has been largely wishing for transparency and talking about it.
The New York Times decided to take it a step farther today by actually providing data in the form of the Congress API. This data is pulled from the House and Senate websites but I have to guess also includes data that is mined from the Congressional Record, the daily public account of all official business that is still, ironically, published in print form en masse. Up until now, the Congressional Record has been available upon request and is hard to actually get real signal from amidst the noise of process and procedure.
With the NY Times Congress API, it is now possible for developers to build tools that mine the Record for roll call votes, members of each chamber, and information about members including chairmanships or committee memberships.
It will be interesting to see how this data is used and how it can be leveraged to keep the government honest. Developers can check out the technical details here.