New Ethics.gov portal stores WH visitor logs, FEC filings

Thursday - 3/8/2012, 4:16pm EST

The White House announced the launch of Ethics.gov, an online portal housing ethics-related data — everything from White House visitor logs to lobbying disclosure forms — on a single site.

Ethics.gov will house:
  • White House visitor logs

  • Office of Government Ethics travel reports

  • Data under the Lobbying Disclosure Act

  • Justice Department registration data for "foreign agents"

  • FEC candidate registration records

  • FEC registration records for political-action and campaign committees

The site, a subset of the larger Data.gov, compiles records from seven previously separate databases, including contribution reports from the Federal Election Commission and federal travel information from the Office of Government Ethics.

"Never before has this measure of government-verified data been available and so easily searchable in a centralized location," the White House stated in a release.

The administration has taken a number of notable steps in open government, launching Data.gov in 2009 to provide public access to scores of federal datasets, Recovery.gov to track stimulus spending and USASpending.gov to monitor contract and grant spending. Many individual agencies have also posted their own data online under the aegis of the administration's Open Government Initiative.

However, some good-government groups criticized Data.gov, particularly in its early days, for the amount and quality of data posted to the site.

The launch of a single portal for lobbying and ethics information has been some time in coming. As a candidate for President in 2008, Barack Obama promised to "create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format."

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