October 2022: CTA Update

Published October 20, 2022 by Kat Atwater

Just about a year ago, I sat down with a few trusted colleagues from the political tech space and pitched an idea to fill a gap in data utilities on the independent side of the ecosystem. I wanted to create a community-driven non-profit where technologists really wanted to work.

Over the last year, as our organization has grown, this concept has solidified around the idea of “kind tech” — tech that is kind to our users, kind to society and our planet, and kind to the people who build it.

Read more about the journey to build “kind tech” — the challenge, surprises, and what’s ahead.

None of this would be possible without the people who believe in this mission too. So THANK YOU to our team, partners, and the broader movement for your kind support. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Year in Review: CTA By the Numbers

  • 21 active partnerships
  • 28 vendors onboarded
  • 100+ individual users
  • 100% user satisfaction, based on a recent survey
  • 35 data pipelines
  • 3 voter file integrations
  • 15 full-time technologists on the CTA team
  • 133,247+ Slack messages sent
  • 2 CTA babies born
  • 1 new website

Partner Highlight: Accountable.US American Democracy Scorecard

This month, Accountable.US launched The American Democracy Scorecard, an interactive guide that holds the country’s biggest corporations accountable for their support for democracy. The guide, featured on CNBC, grades corporations on their statements and efforts to support our democracy. It tracks political spending, actions around January 6th, and support for issues like federal and state voting legislation.

The goal of this tool is to help consumers and employees make more informed decisions and put pressure on companies to support expanded voting rights and democracy reforms. Accountable’s Scorecard tool summarizes information from a public-facing dashboard we helped them build: the Corporate Anti-Democracy Donations Database. The dashboard integrates data from the FEC, state financial reports, and corporate shareholder information.

What We’re Excited About: Google Looker & Datastream

Google Cloud recently announced that they’re unifying all of their business intelligence products under one brand — Looker. Why does this matter? From Fisher, our CTO:

We’re excited to see what Google Cloud rolls out as it transitions Data Studio to the Looker banner. Data Studio has provided tremendous value to us and our partners in providing an easy-to-use, cost-effective, SQL-based dashboarding solution. Adding Looker’s “LookML” low-code modeling into the offering looks to be a huge value-add for users who want to dive into data models without writing SQL. We’re looking forward to sharing more with our partners as we learn and leverage the new features.

Google Cloud also announced recently that Datastream, its new SQL database replication service, has entered a preview mode. Currently, CTA uses a combination of Airbyte and BigQuery’s Data Transfer Service to ingest database data. We’re excited to see if Datastream can offer an efficient, cost-effective option for change-data-capture-based replication. Our goal is to eliminate costly hosted software, and Datastream checks that box. Look out for more on this in the near future!

What We’re Reading, Watching, and Listening To:

  • Harrow the Ninth: Because who’s not into lesbian necromancers in space?
  • Algorithms of Oppression: Fascinating read on how search engines reinforce bias and oppressive structures.
  • It Starts with Us: A new Colleen Hoover book and a Taylor Swift album in one week???? We’re not ready.
  • The Stand: Because some of us didn’t get enough of pandemics.

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