About Capitol Clout

The 112th Congress has been marked by gridlock, polarization, a near government shutdown, and the looming threat of a fiscal cliff. Currently, only 13 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, up from an all time low of 10 percent reached by the same illustrious group back in February. And yet, many of these same men and women will be asking for our votes in November, and most will be warming the same seats in the new year -- incumbents are reelected to both houses of Congress more than 80 percent of the time.

This got us thinking -- with all the focus on the presidential election, what can we do to help voters make informed decisions about the “other” boxes on the ballot. We came up with the idea of Capitol Clout, a twist on the popular Klout with a K, but instead of looking at social media influence, we looked at legislative influence. How many committees is a legislator on? How many bills that he or she sponsored actually became law? Did your representatives even show up for work?

We began developing this project at the 2012 Election Hackathon, organized by The Washington Post In participation with NPR and Sunlight Foundation. And we won 1st place! As we continue to develop and expand, we hope you’ll share your thoughts and suggestions, and use it to research your local representatives before you cast your ballot.