Visitors to Federal Websites Are Into Taxes, Weather, and…Recalling Puerto Rico’s Governor

A surprising finding from the newly launched Chartbeat for civics nerds.


Today the federal government officially launched analytics.usa.gov, a website that shows online traffic to nearly 300 official sites (out of 1,350 executive branch domains). Think of it as Google Analytics or Chartbeat for civics nerds.

Given that Tax Day is right around the corner, the Internal Revenue Service’s “Where’s My Refund?” page predictably lands at the top of the list of sites with the most current visitors. Next is the National Weather Service’s forecast by region page.

But one entry on the top 10 list doesn’t fit in with Americans’ interest in taxes and weather: A petition calling for the removal of Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla that’s posted on the White House’s We the People site. Its appearance on the list is a testament both to its popularity and just how few people hang out on federal websites.

petitions.whitehouse.gov

As of midday Thursday, the petition had about 95,000 signatures, short of the 100,000 mark that would compel the White House to formally respond. Most of the rancor toward García Padilla stems from the island’s current economic crisis and the governor’s recent proposal to implement a 16 percent value-added tax to help pay down billions of the commonwealth’s debt.

Whether the Obama Administration could actually remove García Padilla is a complicated question. As a commonwealth, the island and its 4 million residents (most of whom are US citizens) has its own constitution, which includes a provision for impeachment. But the federal government could also theoretically remove the governor under a provision in the US Constitution that says that Congress has the power to “dispose of” laws in US territories.

It’s not clear what percentage of the visitors to the anti-García Padilla petition page live in Puerto Rico.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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