Chicago Lobbyists Version 2 Is Here

by Derek Eder

Dec 2, 2011 – We just rolled out a new version of Chicago Lobbyists last night. Thanks to our meetings with Chicago CDO Brett Goldstein and the efforts from his staff, we now have the ability to show:

The new data also seems to have been cleaned up and normalized quite a bit (we still had to do some normalizing ourselves – especially with addresses), resulting in a more accurate picture of lobbying activity in Chicago for 2010.

Here is a rundown of the new features:

  1. Most active clients is now determined by amount spent instead of number of lobbyists hired (Salvation Army, you are now #1 with $380,000 spent on lobbyists in 2010)

    New client listing

  2. All detail pages have a summary section at the top, displaying total amounts, number of lobbyists, number of clients, number of firms, and number of actions (depending on what you’re viewing). Here’s an example of each:

    Lobbyist detail - Ronald Johnson

  3. Global site search (using Google custom search engine)

  4. Every lobbyist action has a client associated with it

  5. Every lobbyist payment shows the client who paid them

  6. Categorized lobbyist expenditures (office expenses, food, travel, education, etc) are now listed

  7. We cross referenced the City of Chicago Payments database, and listed all payments by Chicago to each client (example: Christy Webber Landscapes)

    Christy Webber Landscapes - City Payments

  8. All detail pages now have tabs for each section so you can see all the rich data, without cluttering the page

  9. All data on the detail pages is sortable and searchable (thanks to jQuery Datatables)

  10. All detail pages have comments (powered by Disqus)

We’re all really excited about these new updates. We now have the most accurate and detailed visualization of lobbyist activities around. That’s something to be proud of.


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An open process

In the spirit of openness, the goal of this blog is to share our milestones, setbacks and thoughts as we continue to develop and expand this project.

Who are we?

We are Open City, a group of developers and designers based in Chicago that build civic-minded apps using open data.

Paul Baker
President and co-founder of Webitects
Derek Eder
Developer at Webitects and organizer for OpenGov Chicago
Chad W Pry
Engineer at Groupon, Code Academy mentor, and all around charming fellow
Nick Rougeux
Designer and CSS wiz at Webitects


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