DC Inbox is a repository of over 60,000 official e-newsletters sent from
members of the U.S. Congress to their constituents. Starting in August 2009, every
official e-newsletter sent was captured and compiled to create the database. Depending
on the specific Congress and chamber 80-95% of all legislators sent at least one
e-newsletter during their term. DC Inbox is the most comprehensive and easily accessible
online archive of these official communications. A daily list of the most frequently used
words can be found here.
This dataset holds potential for many research areas. Political scientists have long supposed that members of Congress present themselves in a way that may not accurately reflect their acts in office; yet for the most part this supposition remains untested for lack of systemic data. Having a recorded set of texts containing strategic legislator communications offers a powerful, and increasingly easier to analyze dataset. As this dataset accrues roughly 20 new messages per day, the potential to study topic trends, vote revelation strategy, and presentation of self is great. The visualizations and analyses presented here look at just one part of strategic political communication and provide a small step in fulfilling the hope that political scientists, “spend a little less of our time explaining votes and a little more time explaining explanations.” -Fenno (1978).
This site was originally established by Dr. Lindsey Cormack, at Stevens Institute of Technology in 2015. The web server is run by Stevens Institute of Technology. The primary purpose of this website is to make data available. The human basis of this website has been provided by Nick Monzillo, Nino Gancitano, Ian Allemand, and Stephen McArdle with the support of Stevens Institute of Technology.