Sunshine Week


It’s Sunshine Week here in DC and, well, the sun is shining which is an auspicious beginning. This is a hugely important national initiative launched six years ago about the importance of open government and freedom of information. How important? According to a Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University survey released today just 4% of the surveyed Americans believe the federal government is very open — and 44% believe it is very secretive.

Participants in Sunshine Week activities which are held throughout the country include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know. Here in D.C. there are two panels on Wednesday at the National Press Club plus a lecture by Professor Lawrence Lessig that Sunlight and Omidyar Network are sponsoring on Thursday. More details tomorrow on both of these.

In honor of Sunshine Week one of our grantees, the National Institute on Money in State Politics, has launched its Legislative Committee Analysis Tool, or CAT, which organizes campaign-finance data by the major legislative committees in each state. Here’s an example of what you can find. This new tool uses Project Vote Smart’s APIs for committee assignments. (The Institute’s own APIs are here.) You’ll NIMSP also links to candidate biographies. Look for links to candidate scorecards and bills shortly.

Next up for these folks who focus on money in state politics: zip code lookups paired with Legislative District Boundary Maps and analyses; a 50-state Lobbyist Link tool that will show where lobbyists are focusing their giving.