Congressional Info Now in Portable Form

Posted January 17, 2003 at 12:34pm

When software developer Eric Makus describes the inspiration for his company’s Congressional directory program, his explanation is simple: Printed guides are just plain cumbersome to carry around.

To eliminate that extra heft, the Seattle-based Town Compass LLC created “The 108th U.S Congress & Federal Pocket Directory Database,” a program that operates on personal data assistants.

The program, originally released for the 107th Congress, includes contact information for all 535 Members of Congress, along with committee assignments and personal information, as well as contacts for committees, leadership and Congressional support offices. There is also information on state governors, the administration, executive agencies, military branches and the Supreme Court.

“If they have a smart phone, they can tap and dial the numbers automatically. In effect it gives them a speed dial for every Member of Congress,” noted Makus, the company’s chief executive officer and formerly a special assistant to then-Rep. Thomas Foley (D-Wash.).

Makus also touts the ability to upgrade the program, a free service provided to users through the adjournment of the 108th Congress.

“People want to put stuff on print and then things change and get outdated,” he said. “We will keep it as updated as humanly possible.”

The company charges $14.95 for the program, which is offered in black-and-white, color and high-resolution versions. The program, as well as free versions of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, are available on the company’s Web site at

— Jennifer Yachnin