Today, New York Governor David Paterson appointed Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat. Gillibrand has, from day one of her congressional career, worked to make her office one of the more transparent in the Congress.
Entering Congress in 2007, Gillibrand was at the vanguard of transparency innovation in Congress. She was the first congressional candidate to sign Sunlight’s Punch Clock pledge, a promise to post her daily schedule once she had taken office, and to post her schedule (which has been archived at Congresspedia). She was also one of the first to post her earmarks, earmark requests, and personal financial disclosures to her official web site without a requirement to do so. Gillibrand was also a chief proponent of requiring Inspector General reports to be posted online. We truly hope that she carries this spirit of transparency with her to the Senate.
In doing so, she should aim to improve the content of her official schedule. One thing we’ve noticed is that her schedule has grown sparse, only notes official events, and does not list meetings with anyone from outside of government. In moving to the Senate, Gillibrand should aim for a higher standard of transparency in her schedule.
A shining example for congressional schedules can be found in the schedules of the Montana delegation, Sens. Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and Rep. Denny Rehberg. All three of these lawmakers post detailed schedules that note many meetings with lobbyists, home state residents, industry executives, union members, and others who come to Washington to talk and lobby their elected officials. That is what a truly transparent schedule looks like. Hopefully, as she moves up to the Senate, Rep. Gillibrand will continue to advance transparency and improve her efforts at maintaining a transparent office.