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InSITE: Listing

Volume: 15 Number: 17

Title: LittleSis: Profiling the Powers that Be

Source/Sponsoring Agency: Public Accountability Initiative; Sunlight Foundation


Date Checked: 4/15/2010      Status: Active

Date Annotated: 4/15/2010

Topics: Politics

Other keywords: Campaign Finance; United States Congress; Elections; Lobbying

Contents: LittleSis is an online encyclopedia of influential Americans in politics, lobbying, and business, their relationships with each other, and their relationships with organizations. LittleSis calls itself an “involuntary facebook of powerful Americans.” Public Accountability Initiative is behind the project, which also receives funding from the Sunlight Foundation. The information on the site is designed to help the public discover how money and personal ties influence the development of law and policy. Type the name of a Congresswoman into the search box, for example, and you may find such information as a brief biography, her current and past government and corporate positions, where she attended college, the names of her office staff and campaign donors, her date of birth, and the names of her husband and children. Click on the names of people and organizations listed in the congresswoman’s profile to find out more about them. Browse groups of people such as Forbes’ 400 richest Americans (click Explore, then Lists) A team of volunteers collects and enters the information in a wiki-style collaborative effort; LittleSis is a perpetual work in progress. LittleSis provides links to the sources for information provided so users can independently verify the information. In addition to tracking powerful people generally, LittleSis organizes research projects devoted to particular groups. A recent project studied wealthy Americans who made very large profits during the real estate bubble that popped in 2007. The website also maintains a blog called Eyes on the Ties. Developers can view and debug the site’s open-source code or use the API (after registering for an API key). LittleSis is user-friendly and appropriate for a wide audience, including high school students.

Author of Annotation: I. Haight

Last Modified: 6/20/2012