Now You Can See Your Congressman’s Spending

Data

Now You Can See Your Congressman’s Spending

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HouseSpendDataSmallUSCongressExpensesV3As part of our Federal government’s commitment to greater transparency, The US House of Representatives released its Statement of Disbursements (SOD) in electronic format, late November, covering July 1, 2009 through September 20, 2009.

The government has been required by law to publish this information since 1964. But, this is the first time the data has been available in a convenient electronic form. The main file I used to build the workbook was created The Sunlight Foundation and Socrata.

What is the SOD?

The (SOD) details what each Congressman spends for office staff salaries, travel expenses, office supplies, mailing services (Franked Mail), and other office-related expenses.

Today, Tableau published a Tableau Public version of the workbook on their website blog. You can download a copy of the packaged workbook and the source spreadsheet file I used to create the analysis at the bottom of this post.

What I added

The (SOD) file detailed every line item of expense by congressmen sorted by category. The Sunlight Foundation file that I used didn’t include information on each congressman’s state, district or party affiliation, so I downloaded and appended that data into the set.

Start Investigating

The workbook includes (3) dashboards. You can see how varied the spending has been by category, by state, by party affiliation from using high-level view. Alternatively you can explore the details of each congressman’s spending within your own state.

You will need the free Tableau Reader to view the files and If your not running Office 2007 you may also need to download and install the Office 2007 Connectivity Components.

Do you have any thoughts on how this analysis might be improved? Post a comment. I’d love to hear your ideas.

Source Spreadsheet – HouseSpendDataSmall

Tableau Packaged Workbook – USCongressExpensesV3

More About the Author

Dan Murray

Director of Strategic Innovations
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