We’re delighted to invite you to participate in LittleSis, a wiki its creators, Public Accountability Initiative, appropriately describe as “an involuntary Facebook of powerful Americans.” This project is a Sunlight grantee.
LittleSis makes it easier than ever to see how politicians, CEOs, lobbyists, financiers and all their “fat cat” friends are connected through personal or business relationships. By tracking and finding links between everything from board memberships to campaign contributions, family ties and government contracts, LittleSis is developing a platform that brings transparency to the influential networks that exert significant power in shaping public policy.
LittleSis invites citizens to turn a critical eye on the individuals who are the powerful in and out of government today. As a wiki, (a very elegant one), anyone can sign up to become an analyst and contribute information. We hope you’ll create an account today and join in helping the folks behind this web site to create a truly comprehensive resource. Be warned: this work can be highly addictive!
It couldn’t have come at a better time because it can be a particularly helpful tool to help us all get a deeper understanding and also share knowledge about the members of President-elect Obama’s transition team, Cabinet appointees like Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner and powerful behind-the-scene players like Robert E Rubin.
LittleSis is an experiment — an ambitious one — in the world of crowdsourcing of transparency and accountability efforts. It empowers us all to be our own best watchdogs and collectively develop an unprecedented, authoritative database of information on the powers that be.
As the site is currently in beta, it does, admittedly, have some limitations — principally its data and information isn’t yet fully comprehensive. The easiest way to fix that, of course, is to help LittleSis improve by getting an account and editing the profile pages.
We’d love to hear what you think about the site and how the LittleSis team can improve it. They have some great ideas for next steps, including one for a browser plugin to automatically highlight hidden relationships between names in the news. Of course, Sunlight’s partial to making LittleSis’ raw data more accessible to political geeks eager to mash it up in new ways.