The University of Michigan library has a great resource page that points out sources
for doing congressional research. Most of the sources
that are linked to via this site are also available at MIT, but the overlap isn't 100%. One day, the MIT library will have a good Congress research page
like this one.
The House of Representatives and the Senate have their own Web pages.
Lots of stuff here.
which is a service of the Library of Congress, is another great site. Of particular interest is the Government Resources link.
The Government Printing Office is the go-to source for all federal government documents. Here are links to the most
important congressional documents. As a general matter, the electronic versions of documents only go back to the 104th Congress (1995-96):
CQ, or Congressional Quarterly, has been providing first-hand accounts of congressional activities since the late 1940s. CQ split a few years ago, so
that the press and the journalistic organization are no longer owned by the same entity. This can cause confusion sometimes. However, there is nothing denying
the fact that CQ products, produced by both organizations that carry the name, remain the premier independent voice covering what happens on Capitol Hill, and
around the nation politically. Here is a list of indispensible publications carried by MIT libraries online. You can get paper copies of these publications for
the period before electronic publication.
- CQ Weekly provides weekly coverage of Congress.
- CQ Almanac aggregates the weekly into an annual compilation. This online source is incredible.
- Congress and the Nation aggregates the almanacs into a volume that covers a presidential term.
- CQ Researcher Online provides great research memos about every policy topic under the sun.
Proquest Congressional is the online source that gains you access to
congressional publications, including committee publications, that describe
legislative action of all sorts. Included here are legislative histories, It is quite comprehensive, going back into the 19th century. A great source for all
sorts of historical and conntemporary research into congressional policymaking. (This was formerly LexisNexis Congressional.)
The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, online version
is the best source, by far, of biographical information about everyone who has ever served in Congress. My only complaint is that you can't really browse the
directory. For that, you'll have to hunt down a paper version of the document, which is full of information the online version doesn't have.
The Congressional Pictorial Directory gives you a picture of every members of Congress.
This link sends you to the version for the 112th
Congress. Search the GPO web site for other editions.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is Congress's "think tank," producing a huge volume of very useful reports on topics ranging from specific policies
to the legislative process. Unfortunately, CRS doesn't make those reports available to the public. This has resulted in a network of libraries and web sites that
try to acquire CRS reports and then make them available to the public. This site,
at the University of Texas-Denton, is a great sources for these reports.
The Democratic caucus of the House Rules Committee hosts an indispensable
site that gathers together the Congressional
Research service reports on the legislative process. This
is the collection of information about the nuts and bolts
of legislation. Unfortunately, these reports are now a bit out of date. However, they are generally very useful.
If you do a Google Search on a report title that you find especially useful, you might find a more recently updated version.
Digitized and searchable fascimiles of early congressional documents is available at the Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation site. Totally cool! You can also search the
House and Senate Journals up to the 42nd Congress (up to 1873),
in addition to other documents.
for Legislative Archives of the National Archives and Records
Administration keeps old original congressional records that you
can travel to DC to do research on. This site is also useful for
doing research far away from D.C.
C-SPAN to see
live television from the floor of the House and Senate
is the "home town newspaper" of Capitol Hill. Information
ranging from straight news to hometown gossip. The
Hill is an upstart competitor that's a little edgier.
The Dirksen Center has created a site called CongressLink,
which contains a mixture of good congressional links and academic
The Federal Election Commission. regulates campaign finance for federal elections and is the primary source of election finance data. As an aside, Hans Von Spakovsky is a controversial former-member of the FEC who received his Political Science undergraduate degree from MIT in 1981.
The Campaign Finance Institute site is very useful, particularly in providing an
on-line version of the campaign finance tables that are published in Vital Statistics on
Congress. (Vital Statistics is an indispensable reference source for any student
of American politics.
The Center for Responsive Politics Open Secrets has a lot of information about individual MCs, particularly
information about campaign finance.
CQ's Moneyline is a great news and data source concerning money in federal politics.
The Almanac of American Politics is a tremendous resource that gives detailed information about congressional districts, members of Congress, and local politics. This is perhaps my favorite reference book.
own congressional data, including recent updates to my standing
Center honors the memory of Sen. Everett M. Dirksen. It has
grants and educational programs that are of some interest to the
professional and student, alike. Their CongressLink
page has a lot of resources that are helpful to teachers and students
Proquest: Congressional provides great access to the full text of congressional proceedings, reaching back at least 25 years. This provides direct access to most congressional documents. The link is available to MIT users only.
Keith Poole at the University of Georgia has the most interesting and useful roll call information up
and running for recent years at his Voteview site.
There is a more direct link to his NOMINATE data download page.
While it's not data -- it's software -- the PoliSim election simulator provides a pretty neat
visualization of how spatial models of electoral competition work. (The page is now about 16 years old and written in Java 1.0. Please take the fellow up on
his challenge to update it.)
The Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association has its own home page,
including the electronic version of its newsletter and other legislative links.
The Legislative Studies Quarterly is the official journal of the Legislative Studies Section. It's a highly-respected journal, and contains the most current research
on legislatures of all types. You can access back issues through JSTOR.
You must consult current issue the old fashioned way.
Elections and politics
Pollster.com is a great information aggregator of polling results, and it has a lot of great articles
concerning how polling is done. It is usually the first web site I visit each day to see who's up and who's down. (Although, I must say, ever since it aligned
with the Huffington Post, many of the things that used to make this site a must-visit have faded into the past.)
has the most comprehensive set of reports about recent public opinion polls.
Here are some links to sources for
news about Congress.
Direct to boot hill
Graveyard is a fun excursion .