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Choose ONE member of the United States Congress to investigate. It can be your representative to the U.S. House or one of your state’s two senators. If this is an election year and your representative has just lost their seat, do not do that person. Put all information in your own words. Do NOT cut and paste!
Websites
Vote Smart
This site contains biographical information, issue positions, voting records and interest group evaluations for each member of Congress.
Center for Responsive Politics
This site has detailed information on campaign contributions received by candidates in each district and where their money came from.
Official Site of the House of Representatives
Among other things, this site contains links to individual member homepages.
Official Site of the Senate
Among other things, this site contains links to individual member homepages.
Use the above websites to answer the following questions about your member of Congress:
Go to the Vote Smart website and answer the following questions:
Click on “Bio” on the top menu bar of the website. What is the background of your member of Congress (occupation, political party, years served in Congress, legislative committees they serve on)?
Click on “Positions” on the top menu bar of the Vote Smart website. Select three issues and describe your member’s position. Use the responses to the Political Courage Test. If they did not take the test, Vote Smart estimates their positions. Share your findings.
Click on “Votes”. Describe two votes taken by your member. How do you feel about his or her votes?
Click on “Ratings” on the Vote-Smart website. The page is organized by issue with several interest groups listed for each issue. Review several issue categories. Which interest groups did each candidate vote with the most frequently? Give examples of specific groups.
Go to the Center for Responsive Politics. Click on Congressional Races under Politicians and Elections. Then choose your state and your member. How much did each candidate (Democrat and Republican) raise in your member’s last race? Who were the major contributors and supporting industries for your member? For both candidates, did most money raised come from individuals, PACS or some other source?
Visit your member’s homepage in Congress by visiting the person’s official House or Senate page. What kinds of material are located on each website? What do you think the candidates hope to achieve with their websites? Evaluate each candidate’s site on the basis of content, appearance and user-friendliness.

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