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Campus Notebook: Convenient Transparency

Staffers and reporters became slaves to their smart phones long ago, but Congress has lagged in producing an application that provides real-time updates on the House’s and Senate’s proceedings.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Sunlight Foundation is now trying to fill that gap. On Wednesday, the group launched Real Time Congress, an iPhone app that streams live floor updates, leadership documents and hearing schedules.

It follows the organization’s “Congress— app for the Android that includes basic information about lawmakers as well as their Twitter feeds and YouTube videos. Released two weeks ago, it has been downloaded almost 6,000 times.

Sunlight, which focuses on making the government more transparent, “like[s] to experiment with all kinds of ways to connect the public with better information about their elected official and what Congress is up to,— spokeswoman Gabriela Schneider said.

But the iPhone app is more comprehensive and “inside the Beltway— than the Android program, she said. In addition to live updates, it includes Whip notices, Congressional Budget Office scores, Congressional Research Service reports and numerous other documents.

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