America's Insane Criminal Code Now Available in XML Format!

Heritage FoundationHeritage FoundationThe U.S. Congress has created an average of one new crime a week for the last several decades, bringing the grand total of federal offenses to roughly 4,500. Thanks to the efforts of congressional Republicans, you can download America's insanely long list of no-nos in XML markup language

“Providing free and open access to the U.S. Code in XML is another win for open government,” said Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor. “And we want to thank the Office of Law Revision Counsel for all of their work to make this project a reality. Whether it’s our ‘read the bill’ reforms, streaming debates and committee hearings live online, or providing unprecedented access to legislative data, we’re keeping our pledge to make Congress more transparent and accountable to the people we serve.”

In 2011, Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor called for the adoption of new electronic data standards to make legislative information more open and accessible. With those standards in place, the House created the Legislative Branch Bulk Data Task Force in 2012 to expedite the process of providing bulk access to legislative information and to increase transparency for the American people.

Since then, the Government Printing Office (GPO) has begun providing bulk access to House legislation in XML. The Office of the Clerk makes full sessions of House floor summaries available in bulk as well.

The XML version of the U.S. Code will be updated quickly, on an ongoing basis, as new laws are enacted. 

Or, as new crimes are created! It is our sincere hope that someone does something meaningful with this data. 

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  • A Serious Man||

    Great, so now ignorance the law really, REALLY, is no excuse!

  • || fucking what if you can get it in XML? It's still just chunks of text; do they just put legalize sections in CDATA elements? I mean, seriously, how would this be helpful to anyone in any way?

  • ||

    "legalese" not "legalize". Sigh.

  • Bradley Strider||

    It is basically an XML version of a word processor document containing the US Code, from what I can see. Oh boy.

  • Bradley Strider||

    <?xml version="1.0"



  • Bradley Strider||

    Also H&R's comment sanitizer is pretty lame.

  • Zeb||

    With this always growing number of offenses, the old "ignorance of the law is no excuse" becomes more and more absurd.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I will enjoy exploring this Gilliamic maze using Python.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Immigration and firearm crimes?

  • ||

    I think it was Patrick Henry who said, "Give me JSON or give me death!"

  • np||

    All we need is to add the thousands for each state and we're all set

  • Timon 19||

    eXtensible Markup Language Markup Language?

  • E.Z.||

    Just downloaded the whole thing - about 82 megabytes ... zipped. That is insane.

  • MappRapp||

    You are right man that is insane. Wow.

  • Max||

    For libertarian legislative work see


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