Information about lobbying - the who, what and how of influence peddling - should be available online in real-time. Better lobbyist disclosure will let Americans who is trying to shape public policy and at what price. It will also increase public confidence in the integrity of government. Current disclosure rules fail in both regards.
The Sunlight Foundation strives to improve disclosure through legislative actions and illuminating reporting projects that will shine a light on how lobbyists influence policymakers.
Sunlight's proposal to keep disclosure at the same pace as money in politics. The crowdsourced public legislation on PublicMarkup would shine a light on a system that often operates in the shadows.
Sunlight's Party Time project documents the political fundraising circuit where lawmakers rub shoulders with PACs, lobbyings and wealthy contributors. The database features invitations to hundreds of events and the blog keeps tabs on notable fundraisers.
Influence Explorer is Sunlight's one-stop source for a variety of influence-related data on politicians, political organizations, private companies and powerful individuals.
The Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker is a joint project of ProPublica and the Sunlight Foundation that digitizes information that representatives of foreign governments, political parties and government-controlled entities must disclose to the U.S. Justice Department when they seek to influence U.S. policy.
The Sunlight Foundation's Reporting Group has a number of useful tool to keep a handle on lobbying activity. They include the Post Employment Tracker, which highlights when former congressional officials can legally begin to lobby their old colleagues (though not everyone becomes a lobbyist) and the Lobbyist Registration Tracker, which shows which special interests have hired new lobbyists within the last 45 days.