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Quorum’s Data-Mining Is Changing Washington For the Better

In little over a year, straight from the undergraduate dorms at Harvard to the halls of Capitol Hill, the founders of Quorum have laid their mark with their  real-time data analytics tools, changing how information about our members of Congress is accessed and used. They believe, as we do, that the more we know the better we as a nation function as a democracy.

determine with accuracy who members of Congress worked with most frequently

At this stage of its growth, the company provides quantitative insights mainly to legislative professionals and corporations. Its online platform effectively tracks the legislative process and dialogue in Washington and in all 50 states. While there are other data-driven services performing data-mining, Quorum is unique. Its proprietary technology can determine with accuracy who members of Congress worked with most frequently, they can scrape metadata determining what issues a representative is most active on, and how effective they are at getting bills out of committee and updates on lawmakers’ tweets and public comments. Quorum is also able to efficiently compile, distill and package large amounts of data while incorporating interactive visualizations and up-to-date statistics.

The company’s statistic gathering ability specifically enables users to interactively explore over 100 statistics on each Member’s legislative history in over 1,000 different issue areas such as with-party voting percentage, average number of cosponsors, and number of bills out of committee. Quorum’s unique Advanced Search tool combs through over 460,000 congressional press releases, 8 million tweets, 1 million bills, and 880,000 floor statements to offer a one-of-a-kind research resource.

information is more powerful than ever

In today’s hyper-partisan and heavily gerrymandered political landscape, information is more powerful than ever. The company’s algorithm mines its sources every hour giving clients fresh data at the click of a mouse.  Other tools like Quorum Score allows users to look at cosponsorship networks to rank who are the most influential Members in Congress and who is working with who.  It can also break down cosponsorships by gender.

Quorum has found that consistently and publicly measuring member performance in real time is the best chance we have at fundamentally changing how the entire legislative branch works. It is a solution that can be applied to all 535 Members simultaneously, doesn’t require millions of dollars or people to happen, and uses public pressure to encourage Members of Congress to govern more effectively.

With more focus and attention being placed on members’ legislative activity from voters, donors and members of the media, a member of Congress would prioritize issues that actually matter to their district, become more active in their chamber, and work more frequently across the aisle benefiting American Democracy.

Currently, Quorum serves more than 100 clients, mostly lobbyists and corporations, but hopes, in the near future, to build a public facing website with daily updating quantitative profiles on every member of Congress. The site would allow average citizens and other stakeholders such as members of Congress, legislative staff, reporters and campaign donors to measure every member’s legislative effectiveness and top issues as well as legislators bipartisanship. 

What would they do with a $300,000 grant?

Today, Quorum is seeking non-dilutive civic funding to make public a feature that people have traditionally paid money for. The funding would support the development time necessary to build the public website, the server costs to host the site, and the outreach necessary to make citizens across the country aware of the platform. Grant funds would not be used to promote or invest in Quorum’s revenue producing products. Civic funding would allow the Quorum team to accomplish and justify the long-held goal of making some of Quorum’s valuable information free and accessible to the public.

How does the mission of Quorum align with that of Invest America?

Technology is at the forefront of political reform across the United States, and if present conditions are any indication, it will continue to shape efforts to improve our political system and government for years to come. With their unique technology, Quorum seeks to make the political process more transparent so that citizens, advocacy groups and reporters can hold legislators accountable. As a bipartisan organization working to eliminate partisan gridlock in legislatures nationwide, they align clearly with the mission of Invest America Fund.

Read more about Quorum here and here

Invest America Fund is a seed fund building a community, joining social and political entrepreneurs with funders committed to cross-partisan policy transformation.  We target and support leaders and organizations whose ideas and approaches have the potential to reach and improve the lives of 150 million or more American voters.  The Fund is building a national matrix of steady-state funders to tackle the most important issues facing our country today and is inspiring a “Silicon Valley” for political reform.