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After five years of opening California’s governments to the public, developing data-driven policy analysis, and educating citizens about how California governments work, the California Common Sense team is proud to announce our nationwide expansion to United States Common Sense.

Our mission remains the same, but we are excited to now provide data, open government resources, and analysis relevant to all 50 states and their local governments.

In addition to our CACS work, you can find our newly-enhanced nationwide research and data products at

With your support, we’ll continue striving to make governments across the country more open, more accessible, and more accountable to you.


The US Common Sense Team


USCS in the Press


New Web tool breaks down San Francisco government data

San Francisco spends more money on government than it did a decade ago, but that government employs fewer people. Public safety spending is a smaller portion of the total budget than ever. And The City debt has shot up in just the past few years. Until recently, that kind of historical, comparative information about where our public money goes might have required some serious data mining. But a nonprofit run by Stanford students and alumni has created a new Web interface that makes it a few clicks away.

Sacramento: State spending shrouded in secrecy

Directions from Silicon Valley to Sacramento: travel about 30 miles east, 40 miles north, then 50 years into the past. Or at least that’s how it appears. Despite living in the digital era, information is a rare commodity in our state’s capital. Any that exists is closely guarded by a culture of secrecy that seems to permeate California’s government. We know our state is sick, but we lack the data to make a diagnosis.

Dems send their attack dog after college kids

Sometimes, politicians behaving badly hardly compare to others swimming in the deep end of the pool. On his blog, Democratic consultant Steve Maviglio has slammed California Common Sense (CACS), a team of Stanford students advocating greater transparency in how California spends public money. By collating sprawls of data, they hope to pinpoint fiscal inefficiencies in Sacramento, which voters can then use to demand policies that cut waste.

Assembly committee opts against open budget talks

Portantino appeared at a news conference Monday with California Common Sense, a research group led by students at Stanford University that believes state government is overspending. Dakin Sloss, a senior on leave this year, said he spent the weekend comparing the conflicting data released by the Assembly. He said millions of dollars in legislative salaries are not included in members’ spending, including at least 40 of the 68 listed chiefs of staff who are categorized as working for committees, including in Portantino’s office. “There are significant inconsistencies between how the rules committee reports expenditures and payroll,” Sloss said. “This suggests that something odd and peculiar is going on in terms of the data that was released Friday.”

Calif. Lawmakers Resist Calls To ‘Open The Books’

Over the weekend, a group known as California Common Sense analyzed the documents, compared them to payroll information and said it found discrepancies. “The data suggests that they’ve moved things around in a way that is suspicious,” said Dakin Sloss, president of California Common Sense, a nonprofit organization made up of students at Stanford University.

Assemblyman says party leaders playing games with spending records

At a news conference in his Capitol office, the La Canada Flintridge Democrat cited the work of a Stanford University-based group of student researchers who documented what they described as {odd and peculiar} discrepancies between lawmaker expenditures, as detailed in records released late Friday, and the legislative payroll. The group, named California Common Sense, compared the data, ranking Portantino in the middle of the pack when it comes to staff expenses in the 80-member body.

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