Sunlight Foundation today released Docket Wrench, an online system that analyzes and summarizes public comments to proposed U.S. federal regulations, according to Nicko Margolies’s post, Docket Wrench: Exposing Trends in Regulatory Comments.
Here is an excerpt of the announcement:
Today the Sunlight Foundation unveils Docket Wrench, an online research tool to dig into regulatory comments and uncover patterns among millions of documents. Docket Wrench offers a window into the rulemaking process where special interests and individuals can wield their influence without the level of scrutiny traditional lobbying activities receive.
Before an agency finalizes a proposed rule that Congress and the president have mandated that they enforce, there is a period of public commenting where the agency solicits feedback from those affected by the rule. The commenters can vary from company or industry representatives to citizens concerned about laws that impact their environment, schools, finances and much more. These comments and related documents are grouped into “dockets” where you can follow the actions related to each rule. Every rulemaking docket has its own page on Docket Wrench where you can get a graphical overview of the docket, drill down into the rules and notices it contains and read the comments on those rules. We’ve pulled all this information together into one spot so you can more easily research trends and extract interesting stories from the data. [...]
For more details, please see the complete announcement.
According to Tom Lee of Sunlight Foundation, Docket Wrench was developed by Andrew Pendleton and Amy Cesal.