2017 Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism finalist

APIs and Data from ProPublica’s Represent

Derek Willis, Ken Schwencke, Lena Groeger and Celeste LeCompte


Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism


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About the Project

In 2016 and 2017, ProPublica created or updated data services that put it at the forefront of providing open political data in the U.S. We have become one of the largest and most important providers of open government data via API in the U.S. Through our free services, civic hackers, policy advocates and our fellow journalists are able to build software that provides information and accountability around campaign finance, nonprofits, and the Congress.

These APIs include:

Congress: Having merged the former Sunlight Foundation API with our own congressional data feed, our Congress API helps developers and researchers create near-real time applications about Congress, including bills, roll-call votes, nominations, and members’ voting records and public statements. Some examples of the API in use are FiveThirtyEight’s “Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump” and the L.A. Times tracking of representatives’ stances on the Russia investigation

Nonprofit Explorer: Our API lets developers create resources around nonprofit organizations and their required tax filings to the IRS.

Campaign Finance: Our campaign finance API is updated every 15 minutes, providing the most comprehensive, free and up-to-date data source on fundraising and expenditure disclosures anywhere. Many newsrooms have used our data to do accountability journalism, including the Wichita Eagle and the Dayton Daily News

House Spending: Part of the work we took on after the Sunlight Foundation closed Sunlight Labs, our Represent data includes bulk downloads of the office expenditures of House members, available nowhere else.

Election DataBot: Our APIs power our user-facing Election DataBot, which combines several ProPublica APIs with external services to provide near real-time campaign data to experts like researchers and journalists covering the election.

All of these services are available as part of our relaunched, easy to use Data Store, which has more than 50 free and low-cost data sets for download.