5 sites to be a better informed citizen

As often as I rail against the ridiculous actions of our government it is ultimately the fault of a voting public that is more informed about the latest Lil Wayne lyrics than the actions of their elected representatives. (It bears mentioning that a cursory knowledge of history and economics can be quite handy as well.)

So as a public service here is a list of 5 websites to educate yourself and become a more informed citizen. I highly suggest you Bookmark and Subscribe so that you aren’t surprised when your rights are regulated into oblivion.

 

1. Govtrack.us – This is the best of the best. You can track specific members of congress, committees, issues, and the progress of individual bills. In addition to offering excellent email and RSS updates for your tracked items it is also the best source for bill information.

2. OpenCongress.org – OpenCongress offers the same tracking features as Govtrack.us (their data is actually provided by Govtrack) but they have added commentary and news coverage to provide a more comprehensive picture of the state of legislation. Check out their Hot Bills page for a start.

3. FedSpending.org – This site details the fiscal spending of the federal government. Don’t expect to be encouraged by their data but you should know where your tax dollars are being spent. To begin choose the contract database and then select your home state to see the amount of money that your state has been awarded in contracts and who it has been awarded to. Where else could you find that General Dynamics was awarded $179M in contracts?

4. VoteSmart.org – The elected official information clearinghouse. Bios, voting records, and committee seats are all found through this bipartisan project.

5. OpenSecrets.org – An amazing resource to gain insight on the bedfellows of money and politics. Discover the top corporate contributors to a candidate or see their which lobbying groups have spent the most for a candidate. You can spend hours digging through the wealth of information at OpenSecrets.

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. — Thomas Jefferson (sadly the inverse is also very true).

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