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Government Information

(see also Money and Politics)

The * symbol represents a site we find particularly useful.

UNITED STATES SOURCES

* U.S. Census Bureau - American FactFinder (http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet)
Type in a street address on American FactFinder and look up demographic information on your city, county, or state. You can even look up information at the tract level! New: Social and economic profiles released in August 2002 that contain statistical information on jobs, income, citizenship, and housing.

U.S. Census Bureau - Mapping & Cartographic Resources (http://homer.ssd.census.gov)
Access to Census Bureau mapping resources. Use American Factfinder to custom create maps with census information (income, race, etc.) You can also produce custom reports of detailed statistical information from the census.

Economy at a Glance (http://stats.bls.gov/eag)
Economy at a Glance has data on labor force, unemployment, earnings, productivity, Employee Cost Index, Consumer Price Index, producer Price Index broken down by state and some selected cities. Can be searched by key word.
Produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

* Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov)
Home page. Envirofacts page provides search engine for all EPA databases (TRI, Superfund, etc.) http://www.epa.gov/enviro. Able to search by zip code - check out the "Where You Live" section on the left!

* Federal Electoral Commission Info (http://www.tray.com/fecinfo)
FECINFO provides public access to campaign contributions to federal representatives and candidates, and the major national parties (soft money). Search by company (employer) and name. Some databases are free, others charge a fee. To search by candidate/representative click US HOUSE/SENATE CAMPAIGN MONEY. To search by contributor use both LOOK-UP CONTRIBUTORS BY THEIR NAME (use company name here, too), and CONTRIBUTOR OCCUPATION/EMPLOYER LOOK-UP. Clear instructions are provided as you go along. New! Corporate PACS giving to Candidates. Check out the bar on the left and click that section.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

FOIA Advocates (http://www.FOIAdvocates.com/records.html)
Links to FOI laws in every state.

* Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press (http://www.rcfp.org)
RCFP.org has a comprehensive set of guides to what is covered by FOIA, what is not, and what should be. Its web-based, fill-in-the-blank FOIA request letter is the bomb (http://www.rcfp.org/foi_lett.html). Type in your specific information, and it spits back a letter with all the necessary legalese, plus the address of the federal agency you're sending it to. If you need more help, call the 24-hour RCFP hotline for support on state or federal information access (1-800-336-4243). The site also has an indexed guide to open meetings and open records laws in every state (Tapping Officials' Secrets http://www.rcfp.org/tapping/index.cgi). Check out the "Publications Bar" on the right filled with information on accessing information on a myriad of issues!

Society of Professional Journalists FOI State Contacts (http://www.spj.org/foia_tools_state.asp)
State-by-state list of FOIA contacts. Check out the "Covering Prisons" section on the right bar - their online guide.

General Accounting Office (http://www.gao.gov)
GAO examines the use of public funds, evaluates federal programs and activities, and provides analyses, options, recommendations, and other assistance to help the Congress make oversight, policy, and funding decisions. Full text of GAO reports from 1975 to present. Great source of information on wide variety of topics. Searchable by subject and by report number. Just go to "GAO Reports" on the left and click on the link "Find GAO Reports". Lots of new stuff: "Financial Report on the Federal Government", and Special Collections on Homeland Security and Terrorism.

Guidestar (http://www.guidestar.org)
A clearinghouse of information on nonprofit organizations presently including the activities and finances of more than 650,00 nonprofit organizations. Enter the non-profit's name in <Charity Search> box. After reviewing the retrieved list of nonprofits, click on your targeted organization and use your browser to print. Fill out IRS Form 4506-A, Request for Public Inspection or Copy of Exempt Organization Tax Form. Include the EIN (Employer Identification Number) provided by Guidestar. Attach the Guidestar printout with your request to the appropriate Internal Revenue Service Center. Within two to six weeks you should receive photo-copies of the non-profit's IRS Form 990 with a fee for photocopying. The 990 has a wealth of information including the salaries of the top five employees and outside contractors, and a list of officers and directors.

* National Association of Counties (http://www.naco.org)
Go to the "About Counties" link for local data. Has census data and maps, contact information for local officials, links to "Model Programs" regarding such issues as criminal justice (searchable by topic or county). Just released: The structure and composition of Bush's Homeland Security Council. Check it out!

National Library of Medicine (http://www.nlm.nih.gov)
Search the NLM site is most useful. Lots of good stuff on chemicals and their effects.

National Priorities Project (http://www.nationalpriorities.org)
The National Priorities Project has been the source for how federal spending and tax priorities affect your community. They provide the resources needed to understand and change current federal budget and tax priorities to ensure that the basic social needs of communities are met. Searchable by issue or by location (on the state level).

* Occupational Health and Safety Administration (http://www.osha.gov)
This government web site provides full reports of OSHA inspections. These include regular inspections and those filed due to complaints or accidents. Violation, fines and descriptions of incidents are available. You can get a nation-wide record of a company or focus your search to specific plant. Click on STATISTICS, then on INSPECTION DATA, then ESTABLISHMENT SEARCH. Be sure to check off Exact Match when searching, otherwise you'll get inaccurate results. They'll also put out notices of public comment on their website on the front page.

* Right-to-Know Databases (http://www.rtk.net)
The Right to Know Network (RTK) provides free access to government information on toxic releases, toxic spills, superfund sites an other environmental results of manufacturing/industry. You can search by company, industry or geographic area. Once on the homepage, click DATABASES to the left of the screen, now you need to decide which databases to search. A MASTER search will search all of the databases simultaneously.

State and Local Government on the Net (http://www.statelocalgov.net/index.cfm)
Click on a state site and see categories: State Home Page; Statewide Offices; Legislative/Judicial/Executive Branch/Boards and Commissions; Regional; Counties; Cities.

U.S. Security and Exchange Commission Filings and Forms (http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml)
The SEC requires all public companies (except foreign companies and companies with less than $10 million in assets and 500 shareholders) to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR. Anyone can access and download this information for free. Here you'll find links to a complete list of filings available through EDGAR and instructions for searching the EDGAR database. Check out the "Description of SEC Forms" link for a glossary of what these forms mean.

CALIFORNIA SOURCES

Association of Bay Area Governments Data Center (http://www.abag.ca.gov/abag/overview/datacenter)
Get population, economic, governmental and cost of living information about the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. 2002 Projections now available!!

California (http://www.ca.gov/state/portal/myca_homepage.jsp)
Official California state government website.

California Department of Education (http://www.cde.ca.gov)
The official California Department of Education website! On the homepage, check out the "DataQuest" section under "Finance, Research and Statistics". They have up-to-date facts on enrollment, dropout rates, school performances, teacher hires, etc. arranged by state, county, district, and school! Star Test Results just out!

California Legislative Information (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov)
The official site of California Law. You can search for bills by session, by topic, or by author. Once you've found the bill, you can also look through its history to see who's supported it and who's against it.

Updated Feb 2005. Please send Web site corrections to datacenter@datacenter.org.

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