What’s your lawmaker up to? >Shreveport Times

19 Mar

WASHINGTON — It doesn’t take a trip to Washington to get to know your lawmaker. Here are 10 things you can learn online:

1. Who is your representative?

Using your ZIP code, you can check Project Vote Smart’s website (www.vote-smart.org) for the names of your lawmakers.

2. What’s your lawmaker’s background?

Websites for the Senate (www.senate.gov) and House of Representatives (www.house.gov) have links to lawmakers’ official biographies, the committees they serve on, phone numbers and mailing addresses. Many also have their own Facebook pages and/or Twitter accounts.

3. Where does your lawmaker get his or her campaign money?

The Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) analyzes where candidates get their campaign money and how they spend it. Click on “Politicians & Elections” and follow the menu options.

4. How much is your lawmaker worth?

The clerk of the House and secretary of the Senate compile annual personal financial disclosure documents that give a sense of a lawmaker’s assets and income in broad ranges. The information is available at the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org). Click on “Politicians & Elections” and then “Personal Finances.”

5. What’s your lawmaker’s voting record?

Project Vote Smart (www.vote-smart.org) compiles lawmakers’ votes by year and issue. To see all votes, go to www.senate.gov and www.house.gov or to www.opencongress.org.

6. Who pays for your lawmaker’s trips?

Go to www.legistorm.com/trip.html, then follow the menu options.

7. What bills has your lawmaker sponsored?

Check the Library of Congress (http://thomas.loc.gov).

8. How is your lawmaker spending his or her office budget?

The House posts its quarterly disbursement reports at http://disbursements.house.gov/. The Senate reports disbursements in six-month periods at www.senate.gov/legislative/common/generic/report_secsen.htm.

9. How do interest groups rate your lawmaker?

Go to Project Vote Smart (www.vote-smart.org) and click on “Interest Group Ratings” on the left.

10. How often does your lawmaker talk on the House or Senate floor?

C-SPAN ranks lawmakers by the number of days they spoke on the floor and links to each appearance. Visit the website www.c-spanarchives.org/congress/.



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