Jillian Bandes

“We have 535 haystacks for every lawmaker, and we’ve given everyone a pitchfork so they can find the needles,” said Ritsch. “We can’t be watching everybody all the time. But by putting this data out in more people’s hands, it means more people will be looking at it.”

Tim Carney, the lobbying editor and columnist at the Washington Examiner, says OpenSecrets.org is essential to his work.

“I basically live at OpenSecrets.org.” said Carney. “It’s how I found out that Bank of America was funding Chris Dodd to the tune of $5,000 per week at the time he sponsored a housing bailout they wrote.”

Some critics have pointed out that George Soros’ main charity, Open Society Institute, is a primary contributor to OpenSecrets, tainting its claim to nonpartisanship. And the new improvements to OpenSecrets was made possible by a 1.2 million dollar donation from the Sunlight Foundation, which critics also say is biased against the GOP. But OpenSecrets adamantly insists that it’s nonpartisan, and Carney is confident in the group’s ability to provide unbiased information.

“There are hints on the website – in the wording of their blog posts and in the industries they choose to highlight – that the group has leftward leanings, but they are a fair and serious group dedicated to disclosure, openness, and good government,” he said.

You can visit the new features of OpenSecrets here.

Jillian Bandes

Jillian Bandes is the National Political Reporter for Townhall.com