Skip to main content

Research, Consultation, & Author Resources

Home  Academic Research  University Websites  Media  Politics  Governments  Citizen Resources  Author Resources  Academic Videos  Other Resources   
Voter Electoral Orgs
Political Advocacy Groups
Social Innovation
Election Data APIs
Legislative Data & API
Visiting Congress
Addressing Congressmen
Freedom House Links

Legislative Data  



GovTrack  “ is a tool by Civic Impulse, LLC to help the public research and follow legislation in the United States Congress and the state legislatures. Our goal is to promote and innovate government transparency, civic engagement, and civic education through novel uses of technology.” The database provides open access including:

  • data/us/people.xml: This file contains everyone that has ever served in Congress, and U.S. presidents, with their party affiliation, terms in Congress, birthdays, etc. This file is quite large... best not to open it in your browser. This file has been put together from a variety of sources and is maintained by hand. People.xml Schema >

  • data/us/sessions.tsv gives the start and end date of each session (typically one year) and Congress (typically two years).

  • Bills and resolutions are stored in data/us/112/bills for the current Congress and similarly named directories for other Congresses. Bill XML Schema >

  • Roll call votes are stored in data/us/112/rolls for the current Congress and similarly named directories for other Congresses. Votes by unanimous consent, for example, are not included here because they are not recorded votes. Roll Call Vote XML Schema >

  • The data/photos directory contains jpeg images of Members of Congress, past and present. Not all MoC's have photos. The name of the photo is the GovTrack numeric identifier for the person followed by: nothing, for the largest original image available; 200px, 100px, 50px, for three sizes of the photo, by width; all followed by .jpeg. -credit.txt files give a tab-delimited source URL and source description information for each photo.

  • The data/us/bills.text directory includes the text of legislation in PDF, XML, and text format (from GPO) and in HTML format (from THOMAS). It is organized by Congress, bill type, and GPO bill status code.




Sunlight Labs We're a community of open source developers and designers dedicated to opening up our government to make it more transparent, accountable and responsible.”  Their data includes the following APIs and much more:

  • Real Time Congress API  The Real Time Congress API is a RESTful API over the artifacts of Congress, in as close to real-time as possible. There is no original data; all data is taken automatically from other sources.

  • Sunlight Congress API  provides methods for obtaining basic information on Members of Congress, legislator IDs used by various websites, and lookups between places and the politicians that represent them. The primary purpose of the API is to facilitate mashups involving politicians and the various other APIs that are out there.

  • Open States API  Discover politics in your state. Find your legislators, see how they've voted and browse upcoming legislation and events.

  • Scout API  alert system delivers granular, deep and rapid notifications when government acts on issues you are interested in; it scans speeches and legislation in congress, the text of bills, regulations, and soon regulatory comments from all fifty states.

  • Influence Explorer overviews of campaign finances, lobbying, earmarks, contractor misconduct and federal spending data

  • Photos of Congress, bulk download of official congressional photos at:,,



PopVox offers: 

  • bill suggestions  Retrieves suggested bills, including trending bills.

  • bill similarity  Retrieves bills similar to other bills.

  • bill search  by bill number, keywords in bill titles, or full text

  • bill metadata  Retrieves metadata on a bill.

  • bill positions  organizational endorsements and other positions related to a bill

  • org positions  Returns all organization positions, with an optional argument to restrict by time (so you can just get the positions since your last query).

  • bill documents  associated with a bill, including bill text (type 100).

  • document metadata  Returns metadata about a document.

  • document pages Retrieves complete data for all pages of a document, except binary data associated with a page (such as its image).

  • document page Retrieves one page of a document as either a PNG, a single-page PDF, or in plain text. Result is either image/png, application/pdf, or text/plain. The formats available for a document are given in the document metadata API method.

  • document search  Searches a document for text, returning a list of matching pages and context.



“The Project Vote Smart API allows people outside our organization to integrate our data into their applications. An application could be a website, standalone program, or pretty much anything in the computer world. The API will respond to simple requests for data, such as 'get bio information for candidate Y' and 'get Votes for candidate X.'”



Bill Positions API  by MapLight performs original research on supporting and opposing interests for legislative bills. Combined with other databases (e.g., from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), from the National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP), Thomas via, OpenCongress API).  MapLight’s Bill Positions API provides a powerful tool that illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes. It can also be mashed up with other databases that contain information about bills (e.g., Anywhere API) or politically-active organizations (e.g., Project Vote Smart) in unforeseen ways.


Freedom Speaks API is a non-partisan political social network that allows its members to write letters to their publicly elected officials. API provides access to database of elected officials and their contact information


Azavea - Cicero Elected Officials API; Legislative District API; District Map API Contact information for elected officials for national, state and local legislative districts; legislative and administrative district identification based on address or lat/long; generate a map image for a district or part of a district.  (National, State, Local (100 cities) for US, Canada, Australia, UK, New Zealand)


USA Today Census Data  allows developers to easily and programmatically access United States Census information. Data concerning ethnicity, housing, population and race is available from both the 2000 and 2010 census, as well as basic population numbers dating back to the original 1790 census. API  lets you find out what's going on in politics and make your voice heard. A hub for politics on the Internet. “Data: there's a lot of great information out there about politics, district demographics, votes, lobbying records, campaign finance reports, but unfortunately it's split across a dozen different web sites and often hidden behind confusing interfaces. We're pulling all of that together and letting you explore it in one elegant, unified interface. (Plus, we're sharing all the results in an API so you can come up with new ways to explore it.)” - FedSpending API  data on federal contracts, assistance and recovery


CitySourced API  CitySourced provides a simple and intuitive platform empowering residents to identify civic issues (public safety, quality of life, environmental issues, etc.) and report them to city hall for quick resolution.


New York Times NY State Legislature API  With the NY State Legislature API, you can get lists of New York State Senate and Assembly members, member details and committee information, and bill summaries and details. Vote data will be added in a later release.


New York Times Political Districts  With this API, you can get political districts based on a pair of coordinates. Currently, the Districts API is limited to New York City.


Mobile Commons - Legislative Lookup API  Matches a latitude and longitude with the congressional and state legislative districts for that location.


MapIt API  MapIt is a service that maps geographical points to administrative areas. This edition is based on source data from OpenStreetMap project. There's also a UK version




Above list partially derived from Anthea Strong's comprehensive Excel spreadsheet: Anthea's Grand Master Spreadsheet of US and International Civic APIs provided via Twitter.