Politicians are still slowly learning how to reach out to their constituents on the Internet, but that doesn't mean citizens can't keep tabs on Washington online. The latest new-media tool from The New York Times provides an embeddable widget that allows people to analyze campaign contributions made to the presidential candidates.
The campaign finance tool is one of the application program interfaces the Times is developing to let its readers dissect the data it uses in its reporting. The data for this API comes straight from the Federal Election Commission, though the campaigns are only required to report contributions of more than $200. As the campaigns file their last three FEC reports, the API data will be updated.
The API enables users to look at overall donation figures as well as donations broken down by state or ZIP code. Users can also search for contributors either by first name, last name, or ZIP code.
The Times promises to update the campaign financing tool, and it is working on other APIs as well, including ones for restaurant listings, congressional votes, and movie reviews.