Dirt Diggers No 3
May 7, 2002

Editor: Philip Mattera

Greetings to all the new list participants; we're now over 40 strong.
A special welcome to our non-U.S. participants -- from Austrialia,
Germany and the UK -- who signed up thanks to Andy Banks.

There were two responses to the suggestion made by the moderator
that people describe some of the lesser known info sources they use.

Charlie Cray wrote:

My favorite source is (when they exist) trial lawyers who are generous
enough to open their files. I've gotten tons of dirt on the chemical
industry that way, using it to not only help our strategy but also to
broaden the attack to ancillary issues. One set of documents resulted in a
tv documentary and a web site that another group set up by scanning in only
a portion of the archives (http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/).

Big-case litigation archives are full of useful information about the target
company (often beyond the immediate issue at dispute -- the litigators'
strategy is usually to throw excess documents at the other side and force
them to sift through it to find the useful nuggets they requested), and
their industry (trade association records), and even other industries they
work with. E.g. the tobacco archive is a treasure trove of info on the P.R.
industry http://www.pmdocs.com. (See PR Watch site for other tobacco
industry archive links -- there are more than one).

Rick Rehberg wrote:

Just wanted to share with everyone a brief note on FAST's Labor CD.
The CD is a collection of over 25 government databases and indexes from the
US, Mexico and Canada. Issued every January, the CD includes indexes from
the National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Labor, the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission and several other agencies.
The CD is used primarily by union researchers, who can use it to find a
company's elections and petitions history, as well as unfair labor practices
and wage and hour charges and violations.

But others may find the CD valuable both for digging up information on a
company and for coalition-building. The CD has extensive information on
international and local union locations throughout the US, Canada and Mexico.

The CD is in MS Access format, but if you are not familiar with Access you
can search it via its built in "filter" search feature.

The cost is $20 for FAST affiliates and $100 for non-affiliates. You can
learn more about the CD and find order forms here
http://www.fastaflcio.org/laborcd/lcd.html, or feel free to contact me with
any questions.
Rick Rehberg, Research Director
Food and Allied Services Trades Dept. (FAST, AFL-CIO)


A NEW QUERY FROM Charlie Cray:

We're interested in compiling a "Matrix" or chart of stats on the Fortune
500 that people can go to on-line for crude indicators of corporate
behavior. To give you an idea, here are some variables we're thinking of
(not necessarily in this order):
Column # and description
1) Rank in Fortune 500
2) Name of Company (can be hyperlinked to their web site)
3) Number of off-shore tax havens
4) total TRI emissions
5) PAC contributions in last election cycle
6) etc.
We could use suggestions for other variables we should include and the
easiest way to get that data.


The moderator wonders if anyone has done a close comparison (in terms
of coverage, price, etc.) of the various services that provide access to U.S.
public records databases (corporate filings, property records, motor vehicle
info, etc.) . At the Corporate Research Project we have been mainly using the
Lexis-Nexis public records library and Autotrack. I'd be curious to hear
people's assessments of these and others such as:

- CP Online (the new name of CDB Infotek following its acquisition by Choicepoint)
- KnowX
- Merlin
- Westlaw

Reminder: to post a message to the Dirt Diggers Network, send an individual
e-mail to the moderator: Phil Mattera at <pmattera@goodjobsfirst.org>.