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Our Super Bowl Blitz Update -- We've Got a Quarter of Congress Covered

Fans of the New Orleans Saints hold up a sign before the NFC Championship Game at the Superdome on Jan. 24, 2010, in New Orleans. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)Here's the latest on our Super Bowl Blitz: The effort, which launched Tuesday, aims to find out which members of Congress are attending this year's Super Bowl and how they got their tickets. We know the NFL sets aside a large number of tickets for public officials and corporations to buy at face value. And those tickets can be used to give congressmen perks. We're trying to find out -- with the help of our readers -- which members of Congress are going, and then our reporters will start following the money trail.

Yes, some members of Congress may try to obfuscate or dodge our questions. But we can do a lot with a list of yes's, which reporter Marcus Stern explained in his recent post "When Is a 'No' Really a 'No.' "

So far, a quarter of Congress has been either finished or delegated. Phew.

That's thanks to gracious efforts of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, InvestigateWest, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, MinnPost, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, The Takeaway and Crain's New York Business (which has cruised through almost all New York senators and representatives - wow).

Plenty of reporters have taken up the charge, too. Malia Zimmerman, editor and co-founder of Hawaii Reporter, is taking care of the islands. Brent Gardner-Smith at Aspen Daily News is digging into Colorado. WBBM TV producer Edward Marshall is going toe-to-toe with Chicago pols. Lara Cooper from NoozHawk dialed her representative. Nancy Watzman over at the Sunlight Foundation's Party Time shares invitations to Super Bowl party fundraisers with us.

That's not all. It took Paul Wilczynski less than 24 hours to finish up his state of South Carolina. New Mexico is finished. So are Washington, Massachusetts and a bunch of Illinois. There are plenty of people who have made a phone call or two: They're credited on our Super Bowl Blitz chart, and they'll be listed in our final story.

Finishing this massive effort requires that we prioritize. Take a look at our project chart and you'll see asterisks next to some names. Those members of Congress hold the nation's purse strings -- they sit on appropriations committees, they're House and Senate leaders, they sit on the Ways and Means Committee, and they're the party's chief money raisers. If you're jumping in now, please call one of these members. Or several! Shortly I'll send out more detailed instructions to everyone who has signed up to help.

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