Data Diving on LegiStorm

At the Press Club again today for a timely class… I say TIMELY because the topic of the course, Legistorm, has been the topic of conversation all over the cover of the Washington Post and even the Drudge Report today. With so much traffic, we were worried that the servers may have been overloaded… and no access for our class.

But all the data divers must have been away for their lunch hour, so we could peruse the site and discover why it will be so important… and why it’s causing so much of a raucous! This website allows anyone to view information, particularly on legislative salaries, financial disclosures, and travel information (that is free and available to the public anyway) now in one simple database.

I remember when it first came out (I was a staffer on the Hill) and we all spent hours looking up each others’ salary information. A pointless exercise for me then.. it just depressed me to find out how little I was making. But now, on the other side of the typewriter… I can easily see who paid for Senator X’s trip to Las Vegas, who went with him, what he says he went for, and even if he paid an exorbitant amount for accommodations!

It’s easy to use – and free! – and information that has always been publicly accessible anyway. You can even look me up and see what a pittance I made as a lowly Hill staffer 😉