ProPublica Congress API Client

What Is It?

ProPublica provides extensive data on the activites of the US Congress in the form of a powerful REST API for use in research, journalism, application development and so on. Demokratia leverages this technology to conduct our own work. The API Client provided here is a simple tool devleoped to aid us in our use of the ProPublica API. It has been useful in several ways, to include:

  • Developing a better understanding of the Congress API
  • Testing new calls to the API
  • Debugging our product
  • Exploring data in the Congress Endpoint

Usage is simple.
  1. Visit the ProPublica Congress API Endpoints documentation.
    Browse Endpoints
  2. Peruse the endpoints. They are broadly categorized; each category provides a variety of useful samples of API calls.
  3. Craft an API call using the samples provided and enter it into the API Call text field in the client.
    Note that the domain and API version portion of the endpoint are automatically prepended to the request by the client. You only have to worry about the part after the version.
  4. Click Run.
Installation and Setup
  1. Install the .NET Framework.
    At present, the API Client is built against version 4.5.2 of the .NET Framework. Anything in excess of 4.0 should be sufficient.
    The .NET Framework is a redistributable software library created by Microsoft. In essence, it is a robust toolbox made available to developers so that they can more easily create sophisticated software without constantly having to 'reinvent the wheel'. It must be installed in order to run the API Client.
    Get .NET
  2. Download the client.
  3. Unzip the file into a directory of your choosing.
  4. Obtain an API Key from ProPublica.
    This is mandatory! It will not work without an API key!
    API Key
  5. Locate the config file: RemoteApiTester.exe.config.
    Insert your new API Key into the config file in place of the text YOUR KEY HERE:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
            <supportedRuntime version="v4.0" sku=".NETFramework,Version=v4.5.2" />
        <add key="PPApiKey" value="YOUR KEY HERE" />
    Save the config file.
  6. Launch the client by double clicking the RemoteApiTester.exe icon.
The data presented by the API Client may contain errors and ommissions. Demokratia is solely responsible for maintaining the Client such that the data presented is correct and up to date.
Terms of Use
  • Do not share your API Key.
  • Do not repackage and/or redistribute this software or any of it's components.