SOPATrack: an app to show connections between campaign donations and voting records

Smita sez,

While there are many resources out there to help citizens learn more about how much money gov't officials are accepting from special interest groups, I wanted to call out SopaTrack as it is the first of its kind that enables people to easily and quickly look up how elected officials are voting on a particular issue, enabling voters to be more educated and aware as they hit the ballots. For this broader issue and problem, for the first time, there is an app for that :)

In a nutshell, SopaTrack highlights how elected officials are voting on specific issues -- with a focus on how often they vote for or against the money. With the recent fight against SOPA demonstrating how potent and motivated the digital community is in holding elected officials accountable, and with CISPA quickly creeping onto the national stage, SopaTrack demonstrates the next way of digital activism and grass-roots campaigning. Originally, SopaTrack was created to help provide facts around the then one-sided discussion around SOPA that was quickly turned around by alarmed citizens like Randy Meech.

The data for this comes from Maplight and Sunlight Labs.

Sopatrack - Check how Congress Votes with the Money


  1. What this app doesn’t track is whether the bills have significant portions of their text written by those making the contributions. Of course congresspeople will vote with the money if the bills they introduce or sponsor were written “by the money”.

    1. How do you think something like that could work? Is there a way to get data for that in a way that isn’t anecdotal?

      1. Perhaps congressional computers could have their word processors modified so that whenever something is pasted a pop-up requests a source under penalty of perjury.

  2. The site claims 73% of votes cast go with the money.

    That doesn’t seem too bad considering money also follows the votes.

  3. Interesting that all the big names are on the ~100% list. That does make me wonder, though. Perhaps the most nationally visible politicians attract the most money, perhaps from competing interests, and thus, no matter which way they vote, it’ll be ‘with the money’?

    1. thing i noted is that all the biggest “with the money” folks are repubs, and all the biggest “against the money” are dems. 

      1. That’s little consolation when my state senators are apparently some of the biggest money-followers on the list, and they’re dems. But then again, I do wonder how much of that is that politicians on the national stage may attract money from all corners.

  4. Woah, stop the presses!

    So you are saying that corporations and individuals give lobbying money to politicians who later then vote and propose laws that those corporations and individuals want?

    That sounds like a completely corrupt system.

    Oh wait, that’s a Corporatocracy, and that is America (and many other fake Democracies). 

    Until lobbying is given it’s real name, bribery, and punished for the crime that is it, we cannot have true Democracy.

  5. SOPAtrack is a misleading name.  it’s about all money and bills, not just SOPA.  however, part of working together to solve the so-called “problem” of online piracy is to defeat SOPA and the like.

  6. “Instead of spending time trying to defeat incumbents who supported SOPA, why don’t people spend time working with together to try and solve the problem of online piracy?”

    First of all there does not exist any scientific evidence that supports the fabricated thesis that online piracy constitutes a problem for neither society, creator, culture or the content industry’s current record turnovers in the first place. This has been explained to you several times before, so please stop spreading your false propaganda claiming that there is.

    The only thing that exists is weak failed entrepreneurs that can’t handle themselves on the free market, and that’s their problem alone, that they have to solve themselves, by offering better competition, and not relying a a monopoly.

    It would never be the responsibility of ordinary people or consumers.

    That people spend time looking into what politicians and companies that try to hurt society and the free market by pushing for unnecessary monopolies and repressive laws to protect those illegitimate monopolies, that is something very good.

    “It would benefit the tech community..”

    What would benefit the tech community is obviously dismantling the copyright monopoly, which is a constant obstacle for new business ideas that are built up around the use of intellectual works.

    “..because any compromise must give technology companies room to innovate..”

    Technology companies are free to innovate, the only obstacle for them is as i said the copyright monopoly, but what you advocate is the exact opposite, that they should be given no room to innovate if it doesn’t benefit the monopoly holders, which isn’t the tech industry’s responsibility in the first place.

    “..and it would benefit Hollywood .”

    What benefits Hollywood is nobody else’s responsibility than their own.

    “..because it would incentivize artists to create original works..”

    Benefiting Hollywood is i no way a requirement for creating incentive for creators to create intellectual works.

    “..and be compensated for that work.”

    Entrepreneurs are never compensated for the work they put in, or the intellectual work they create, they are compensated when they sell something. That’s how the free market works. Do you have a problem with the free market? Are you advocating a planned economy or a communist society, where sales are not required for entrepreneurs to be rewarded?

Comments are closed.