State Legislators' Expenses

State Legislators' Expenses

Organisation: Gazeta do Povo (Brazil)

Publication Date: 04/10/2016


Size of team/newsroom:large


An interactive dashboard to help readers to watch the local government spending. This project is online since 2011, when Gazeta do Povo started to keep track of Legislative expenses in Paraná State. This year it has received a redesign to have fully advantage of all the data available. Reader can detail every lawmaker's expenses in every category or period, and also have an overview to whom they are paying money in exchange for products or services. A complete tool to be aware of how lawmakers are spending the taxpayer money.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

It is a very complete and interactive dashboard, with several combinations possible to deeply investigate how the taxpayer money is being spent. The information has been designed to be gradually consumed, but can be deeply investigated in a very attractive and mobile-responsive layout, turning it into a really nice data app for this Brazilian local database. It is also an important tool for the newsroom to watch the public sector spendings and produce news stories.

Technologies used for this project:

TextWrangler, Applescript, Open Refine, Excel, Tableau The State Legislative of Paraná (Assembleia Legislativa do Paraná - Alep) does not follow every guideline of the Transparency Bill and publishes the expenses in secured-by-password PDFs. We track down the URLs, download all PDFs, unlock them with a tiny app, merge them, and then we're finally able to extract the data. After a regular-expression cleaning session (registered with Applescript) in a text editor (TextWrangler), and some adjustments in Open Refine, the data can go to an Excel Spreadsheet. Then, we built an interactive dashboard using Tableau Public (the Tableau step is the only one that does not need to be done every time). (Alep refuses to publish information in another way).
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