Not everyone is quite ready to gear down for the long July 4th weekend. Our colleagues in Montana at the Institute on State Money and Politics, for example, just published their first newsletter. Check it out here.
The Institute — also known as the DataShaq — is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that compiles and analyzes campaign contribution reports for state-level candidates, political party committees and ballot issue committees. Their database of more than 15 million records is available on their Website, and is easily searchable within a given state and election year, as well as across the 50 states and multiple election cycles. It provides a wealth of information on the forces behind campaign contributions and public-policy discussions in the states. If you don’t know their work, and are involved in state-based advocacy, you should. Greg Elin, who heads the Sunlight Labs, has been working with them for most of this week to develop their first APIs. Sounds like that work has gone extremely well.
Rafael DeGennaro, who heads up ReadtheBill.org Education Fund, another Sunlight grantee, will speak on a panel at the Media Giraffe Project conference June 29-July 1 "Democracy & Independence: Sharing News & Information in a Connected World," the first summit conference of The Media Giraffe Project. If you’re in the Amherst, MA area, stop by at the University of Massachusetts. The conference’s goal is to be "the crossover meeting place for leading thinkers on the impact of Internet technology on journalism, media, education and politics — and the place to celebrate above-the-crowd innovation." Great topic.I’d sure like to know more about the project and the outcome of the conference.
Raf told me this morning that one question he’ll pose to the media-savvy attendees is this:How is it that a reporter can cover congressional passage of a major bill and never mention one little fact — that nobody, especially the reporter writing the story, has read the bill properly? What would it take to change that?