In November, we posted about the IRS's digital release of 10 years' worth of tax-exempt organization returns, which contained more than 6.5 million documents.
ProPublica, a news organization that "produces investigative journalism in the public interest," has now launched an easy-to-use search engine for these returns. You can search by keyword, state, non-profit category, and organization type (e.g., 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4))
For example, if you're interested in the current IRS controversy, searching on "Tea Party", "constitution", or "patriot" will pull up information on numerious 501(c)(4) orgainizations and links to pdf scans of their Form 990 returns.
The Government Accountability Office is known as the “Congressional watchdog,” since they monitor how the federal government spends its money and report back to Congress with their findings. On a daily basis, the GAO produces in-depth reports on all aspects of the government and federal law. They also issue legal decisions on “bid protests, appropriations law and other aspects of federal law.” In the past few months alone, the following reports were issued:
Federal Employees' Compensation Act Case Examples Illustrate Vulnerabilities That Could Result in Improper Payments or Overlapping Benefits. GAO-13-386, Apr 3, 2013
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Standards Needed to Improve Identification of Racial and Ethnic Overrepresentation in Special Education, GAO-13-137, Feb 27, 2013
International Religious Freedom Act State Department and Commission Are Implementing Responsibilities but Need to Improve Interaction, GAO-13-196, Mar 26, 2013
GAO reports and legal decisions are freely available on their website, through Facebook, and on their mobile app.
The FY2014 Budget of the United States was released yesterday and is available through FDSys.gov, but did you know that you can actually review the federal budget back to 1923 through the Federal Reserve archive, known as FRASER? This resource provides a PDF version for each year and is already updated to include the 2014 release.
If you are interested in New York City's much-discussed plan to block the sale of large sugary drinks by restaurants and other establishments, make sure to read Georgetown Law Professor Lawrence Gostin's March 13th CNN opinion piece Banning Large Sodas is Legal and Smart
For more on the background of the ban, check out NYC's Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Sugary Drinks web site, which includes links to selected relevant documents, and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog's A Legal Guide to the Soda Ban Ruling, a short explanation with links to New York State Supreme Court documents, including the March 11 ruling.
Professor Rosa Brooks has written an "unofficial" guide to getting a political job in the Obama administration in the latest issue of Foreign Policy. Of course, her tips on networking are important for obtaining a great job, whether you dream of working on 16th and Pennsylvania or 16th and K Street.
A pilot program between the U.S. Government Printing Office and the Administrative Office of the Courts is now posting court opinions on FDsys.gov. Court opinions from 3 appellate courts (2nd, 8th and 10th Circuit) and almost 20 district courts are now searchable and freely accessible on FDsys. The associated dockets and court documents are also being uploaded for most opinions. The site claims that “the content of this collection dates back to April 2004, though searchable electronic holdings for some courts may be incomplete for this earlier time period.”
This resource is most useful for those looking for a specific court opinion, especially with a known docket number or named party. A search for a docket number will retrieve a list of opinions and documents associated with that case. Simply click on the case name to read the opinion or click on the “more information” link for access to the docket and supporting court documents.
While still in the beta stage, it is the expectation that more federal court material will be added to FDsys as this program expands public access to court opinions.
On behalf of the Federal Judiciary, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts recently released the judicial caseload statistics for the fiscal year which ended September 30, 2012. The Federal Court Management Statistics system provides data for the 12 courts of appeals and the 94 district courts. Whether interviewing for a federal clerkship or researching the caseload of federal judges, these statistics detail the number of civil vs. criminal cases filed in each court, as well as the cases termintated on the merits vs. procedural terminations.
Archival statistics are available back to 1997 through the Federal Court Management Statistics system.