Data Surfer

Sites you need to see

MAPLight, the national campaign finance watchdog, yesterday launched a new subsidiary site focused on California state legislators. You can navigate the election data in two ways: by elected official or by interest group.

A clickable map of Assembly and Senate districts takes you directly to your particular representatives' profiles. Take, for example, Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). His donations total $2,718,095. The top interest group giving him money is "attorneys and law firms" ($177,870) followed by "construction unions" ($148,950). His top organizational donor is AT&T ($21,700), followed by the California State Council of Service Employees ($20,600).

By far the most generous of the interest groups are the construction unions which gave a total of $4,668,606. They are followed by attorneys and law firms ($2,839,023) and state and local government employee unions ($2,683,162). All the interest groups are organized in an easy-to-browse hierarchy.

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About Data Surfer

It's all about information -- statistics, documents and data of all types that help us understand the world, make informed decisions and monitor government. It's about empowering citizens with tools and sources so they can conduct their own investigative research. This blog is a place to discuss information that's available on the Internet. What's relevant, useful, valid and accurate -- and what's not.

We know the Sacramento region is home to knowledgeable people who use online information in their respective fields. We want to hear from you. Please tell us what you think of the data we use in stories and post on The Bee's website. And share tips about online resources you think are valuable to this blog's readers. Post comments on this blog or contact Pete Basofin directly at pbasofin@sacbee.com.

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