Online resources for Washington watchdog reporting from near or far

Compiled by @TomBruneDC and @Newshawks 


Federal Digital System Government Publishing Office search engine now allows full-text and name searches of a vast storehouse of federally published reports, including the congressional record. Links to federal, state and local government websites

NCSL State Legislature Website Directory has links for finding bills, statutes, testimony

Virtual Gumshoe Directory of free local, state and federal records

DexPages phone book – yellow and white pages


US Government Manual Official handbook of the Federal Government with comprehensive information on agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. Also includes information on quasi-official agencies, international organizations in which the United States participates, boards, commissions, and committees.

How federal laws are made

FedStats The Home of the U.S. Government’s Open Data

FOIA.GOV Where to file public records requests by agency + more




Congressional Directory Searchable by name and location. Provides brief bios, contact information, and sponsorship of legislation.

GPO Member Guide

Congressional staff directories


Open House Official U.S. House public disclosure site, including personal financial disclosure, foreign travel, legal fund disclosure, post-House employment reports, etc.

Senate Disclosures Official US Senate public disclosure site, including personal financial disclosure, foreign travel, post-Senate employment reports, etc.

Legistorm Congressional data (some free resources but subscription-only for deep dives) 


Senate disclosure database (SOPR) Searchable & downloadable SOPR records on lobbying, contributions, etc.

House disclosure database Searchable and downloadable lobbying records by lobbyist, client, country and more.

Political Moneyline CQ/Roll Call (some free resources but subscription-only for deep dives) Lobbying firm income (some free resources but subscription-only for deep dives)

Center for Responsive Politics

  • OpenSecrets Lobbying by industry, lobbyist, client, year, expenditures, special interests
  • Revolving door database
  • MAPLight (combines OpenSecrets lobbying data with Govtrack legislation data)   


FARA foreign lobbying reports

Open Secrets foreign lobbying reports

Legistorm(some free resources but subscription-only for deep dives)


National Institute on Money in State Politics 


The Campaign Legal Center Legal resource on conflict of interest and campaign contribution laws and regulations

Federal Elections Commission

Open Secrets Searchable by interest groups, PACs, 527s

Political Moneyline CQ/Roll Call (some free resources but subscription-only for deep dives) State-level contributions


LEGISLATION Member directory, legislation, Congressional Record, committees

Senate site for active legislation Searchable and trackable from introduction through enactment.

House disbursements and receipts (formerly Green Book)

Senate disbursements and receipts


Quick search

Federal Register The official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.

FEDERAL SPENDING & CONTRACTING Search and download by contract, contractor, agency, year etc

Federal Procurement Data System  OR FPDS ezSearch 2000-2012 compiled by OMBWatch for bid requests and rfps. Searchable by agency, keyword and more.

GSA Top 100 Federal Contractors

Small Business Administration and other certifications 2000-2015 compiled by OMBWatch


Official U.S. Executive Branch Web Sites Library of Congress

The Plum Book (U.S. Government Policy and Supporting Positions)  Listing of all presidentially appointed positions within the federal government. It is published every four years following a presidential election. Senate’s list of nominees past and present. Links to federal, state and local government websites records links to state and local online portals Links to federal, state and local government websites


CDC     DOI – NPS  USGS      EPA     HHS  See also HHS – CBER   CDRH  FDA Regional directors

IGNET (Inspectors General)      NIH search names by organization NIH search by name

STATE    USDA –  USDA service center employee directory  Employee locator: (202) 720-8732



Inspectors general 

Government Accountability Office



Government Printing Office – Federal Digital System Access to information resources produced by the federal government.

Congressional Research Service (202) 707-5000 CRS reports are not official released or subject to FOI. They are available through various outside aggregators: Links to authoritative scientific documents, reports and position papers from a variety of federal agencies.


PACER for U.S. court dockets, filings and decisions (free registration but 10 cents per page to view)
  • Install the RECAP extension on Chrome and Firefox and get many PACER documents for free.

Courtreference Links to all 50 states’ courts and, for each state, what kinds of cases are filed where. (Note that many states don’t have statewide searches available; you have to search county by county.)

Google Scholar (all federal court decisions; for state courts, only appellate and supreme court opinions)

Scotusblog Informed commentary on Supreme Court decision

Online merits briefs at the ABA

Legal Information Institute at Cornell Legal resources and opinions

U.S. Tax Court filings

Federal inmate search 1982-present local and federal custody status, criminal case information

ICE detainee list

Hall of Justice – Sunlight Foundation compilation of national and state criminal justice datasets (not being updated)


IRS Tax Exempt Status check


Foundation Center 990Finder


Army Corps national levees database (searchable by zip code) and national inventory of dams

Education Department Title IX sexual assault reports – Chronicle of Higher Education

Federal judgment fund US Treasury. Judgment and settlement payouts, searchable by agency

HHS National Practitioner Databank

NOAA US commercial fisheries data

NOAA flood data and sea-level-rise by tide gauge

NOAA historic tide gauge data and historic sea-level-rise

Got a great link you’re willing to share?  Post it in a comment or send it to anewshawk via gmail dot com.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>