Dirt Diggers Digest No. 29

February 14, 2003

Editor: Philip Mattera

1. New calls for public access to CRS material

2. New database provides comprehensive info on insider trading

3. Enron tax evasion report now online

4. UNCTC reports being resurrected on the web

5. CorpTech is back

6. KnowX adds feature on executive affiliations


1. New calls for public access to CRS material

The Project on Government Oversight <www.pogo.org> issued

a report this week renewing the call to make Congressional

Research Service reports fully available to the public. POGO

also argued that the public should be able to access CRS's

Legislative Information Service, which contains detailed and

up-to-the-minute data on Congressional activity.

CRS, which produces highly regarded reports on a wide variety of

public policy issues, exists mainly to serve Congress. The

public has no direct access to the CRS website, though a

limited number of CRS reports are available on the websites

of two members of Congress (Reps. Christopher Shays of CT

and Mark Green of WI) and the National Council for Science and

the Environment <http://www.ncseonline.org/NLE/CRS/>.

The Legislative Information Service, which is protected by an

elaborate firewall, is not available at all to the public.

POGO's position was endorsed by Senators John McCain of

Arizona and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who said they will

reintroduce legislation to give the public access to the full

range of CRS reports (except those deemed confidential).


2. New database provides access to insider trading info

Insider Scoop <www.insiderscoop.com> is a new pay service that

says it provides "the fastest access to the most comprehensive

insider trading information." The site updates its information daily

and plans to move toward real-time data when new SEC rules on

electronic filing of Forms 3 and 4 take effect. Searches can be done

by company or by individual, and it is possible to link to the original

disclosure documents. One drawback is that, for the time being,

content will not extend back earlier than the beginning of 2002.


3. Enron tax evasion report now online

A massive report by the Joint Committee on Taxation about the

shady tax practices of Enron Corp. is now available on the web

at http://www.house.gov/jct/. The report, prepared at the request of

the Senate Finance Committee, which held hearings on the subject

this week, was the basis for a remarkable headline in the New York

Times: "Tax Moves by Enron Said to Mystify the I.R.S."


4. UNCTC reports being resurrected on the web

Dirt Diggers who have been involved in research for a while will

recall that there used to be a United Nations entity called the

Centre on Transnational Corporations (UNCTC) that did valuable

work on multinationals. Now a group of former UNCTC staffers

have launched an effort to put the Centre's reports--which were

published in the pre-internet era--on the web. The creators of the site,

www.benchpost.com/unctc, have begun by uploading a bibliography

of reports issued during UNCTC's 17-year existence (1977-1993);

they plan to post some 55,000 pages of full text.


5. CorpTech is back

CorpTech, a website that provided profiles of tens of thousands

of high-tech companies that were often overlooked by other databases,

has returned after several years of absence from the open web with a new

site <www.corptech.com>. The site, which offers a variety of free,

pay-per-view and subscription content, says it contains info on more

than 50,000 firms which can be searched by industry, location, or size

as well as name. Free trial memberships are being offered.


6. KnowX adds feature on executive affiliations

KnowX <www.knowx.com>, the web service that provides access

to corporate filings and other public records on a pay-as-you-go

basis, has added a new feature on executive affiliations. The data

are drawn from state Secretary of State filings and business



- Philip Mattera