October 26, 2021

Research Tools: Free Law Project Creates the First Online Database of Federal Judicial Financial Disclosures

From the Free Law Project:

Over the past several months, we provided award-winning journalists James Grimaldi, Coulter Jones, and Joe Palazzolo of The Wall Street Journal exclusive access to our new database on the financial records of federal judges. Today marks the culmination of their efforts with the publication of the first in a series of articles about conflicts of interest in the Judiciary.

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Our financial disclosure database is a collection of over 250,000 pages of financial records drawn from over 26,000 tiff and PDF files. We requested these files from the federal judiciary beginning in 2017 and have been gathering them since that time.

These files contain the disclosure records for every federal judge, justice, and magistrate from 2011 to 2018. We expect to receive and process the majority of the 2019 disclosures in the coming weeks.

We were also able to gather files from other online sources, providing us with some disclosures from 2003 to 2010. With these in our database, we believe we have every publicly-available financial disclosure form, but that there may be significant private collections in newsrooms and elsewhere. If you have such a collection that you would be willing to share, please let us know.

You can learn more about our sourcing and data coverage on our page dedicated to this topic.

After processing these disclosure files, we were able to extract roughly 1.5 million investment transactions, 14,000 reimbursements, and 1,600 gifts. Additionally, we have gathered data on agreements, debts, and non-investment incomes of the judges and their spouses. To learn more about the definition of these terms, see the relevant section of the Guide to Judicial Policy.

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We are very excited to announce that this database will soon be publicly available on https://www.courtlistener.com and we will be providing free API access to all the records and files held within.

Learn More, Read the Complete Introductory Blog Post

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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