Class Projects - Fall 2011


Automatically extracts and presents information about congressional earmarks.

What it does

HamTracker automatically extracts information about congressional earmarks from legislation, allowing users to see where their tax money goes.

Specifically, the system identifies instances of earmark spending from the texts of reconciliation committee reports as made publicly available by the Library of Congress for the fiscal years 2010 and 2011.  The legislators who have sponsored each earmark, the agency to which it is being appropriated, the name of the project, its locations, and finally the total amount of money being allocated, are extracted and stored in a database. The HamTracker website and API rest on top of this database. Users can access the information it contains through an easy-to-use and interactive website.

The system is designed to be a research tool for anyone interested in exploring a detailed breakdown of government spending, including voters, journalists and educators.


Initial Concept: Larry Birnbaum and Jeremy Gilbert

Student Team: Sam Carton, Daniel Lieberman, Katie Park, Mark Olalde, Journalism

Faculty Guidance: Larry Birnbaum, Jeremy Gilbert, and Kris Hammond (with assistance from Shawn O’Banion)