Unified Lobbyist Lookup

Lobbyist LookupLobbyist Lookup is a Go program that downloads, parses, and allows users to search over 310,000 US Congressional Lobbyist Disclosure filings.

Over the summer this year, I participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking (NDOCH) organized by the Northern Virginia Code for America  Brigade and sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). At NDOCH, I teamed up with Leandra Tejedor and Sherry Wang to create Lobbyist Lookup to solve the NSF’s Ethics Challenge.

What is the NSF Ethics Challenge?

  • Per 5 C.F.R. Part 2635, executive branch employees may not accept gifts from lobbyists. Other branches of government have their separate rules regarding gift receiving. The Office of Government Ethics is proposing extending the lobbyist gift ban to cover all federal employees.
  • A Presidential memorandum dated June 18, 2010 directed Executive agencies, not to appoint or re-appoint Federally registered lobbyists to advisory committees, review panels, or other similar groups.
  • Currently looking up lobbying status involves searching House.gov and Senate.gov lobbyist disclosure databases which are completely separate, have dissimilar interfaces, and different formats. There is no feedback when typing a search term so a misspelling of Dylan vs Dillon could have legal consequences.
  • Federal employees need a way to lookup the lobbying status of an individual or organization to quickly and accurately determine gift giving eligibility.

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iMac 2011 SSD install

After using an issued PC with an SSD at the academy and a Macbook Air with SSD for the past year, my mid-2011 iMac’s performance seemed sluggish. It didn’t help that the Seagate hard drive was probably one of the affected units but not covered by the iMac 1TB Seagate recall. According to the recall page’s online form, the iMac’s serial number isn’t covered.

I brought the iMac to an Apple Store last December and explained how my iMac was mid-2011, shipped with a 1TB Seagate hard drive, and thus should be covered by the recall. The Apple Store replaced it with a 1TB Western Digital hard drive ready for pickup next day so that should’ve been the end of sluggishness.

iMac with display removed

iMac with display removed

Using SSD equipped laptops most of the year (iMac stays at home), my expectations were probably too high when I came home on leave. iMac still seemed slow and froze when switching between applications. I had been thinking about an SSD upgrade for a while but never really took the initiative to actually order the parts and perform the upgrade. I ordered OWC’s iMac SSD DIY Kit and 240GB Mercury 6G SSD.

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