I have to admit: I don’t normally read the e-mails from the Farm Bureau. I probably should pay more attention to rural politics, but I’m really just in it for the car insurance. And I’ve selected that provider for the most Iowan of reasons possible: My agent goes to church with my family back home. But when I read in one of their updates that U.S. Representative David Young (R-Iowa) had gotten a bill through the House to devote a portion of our nation’s Homeland Security efforts to something called “agro-terrorism,” I perked up. The Securing Our Food & Agriculture Act passed the House last month and its Senate companion – S. 500 – is pending before the Homeland Security Committee.

Most people know that there's a wealth of information available online about members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. But while it's not hidden, it's often scattered among several Web sites, and it's hard to make head-to-head comparisons without a lot of clicking and note-taking.

Here is our attempt to bring some of the available data together in one place for members of Congress representing the Quad Cities. We include Representative Bruce Braley (a Democrat who currently represents Scott County in the House), Representative Dave Loebsack (a Democrat whose redrawn district will include Scott County beginning next year), Representative Bobby Schilling (a Republican representing the Illinois Quad Cities), and four U.S. Senators: Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois). All the information was drawn from four Web sites: OpenSecrets.org, Legistorm.com, GovTrack.us, and VoteSmart.org.

Beyond the basics - their ages and professions, how long they've been in office, and when their terms end - we include information on committee assignments and leadership, how many roll-call votes they've missed, personal net worth and investments, earmarks (and earmarks that went to campaign contributors), aggregate staff compensation, top-paid staffers, how campaign contributions break down from individuals and political action committees (PACs), whether they completed Project Vote Smart's survey of candidates, and assessments from various interest groups.