Weekly Media Roundup – April 13, 2009


Each weekday, Sunlight’s communications team collects all the press mentions of Sunlight and of our grantees.  Instead of just keeping that to ourselves, we thought we’d try something new by highlighting some of the more interesting mentions  and sharing that with you each week. (You can also check out our Delicious page and our Press Center to see who’s writing about us.)

Elizabeth Brotherton at Roll Call (subscription required), Associated Press Managing Editors, Paul Krawzak with CQ Politics and Deb Price with The Detroit News wrote stories about about U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers posting their earmark requests for the 2010 budget on their Web sites as new transparency guidelines required. Bill Allison, Sunlight’s senior fellow, researched the disclosures. Journalists used Bill’s research as the base for their articles, including many regional papers reporting on earmarks requested by their respective congressional delegations.

National Journal’s “Tech Daily Dose” blog reported that the Center for Responsive Politics’ site OpenSecrets.org is going “open data” this week. For the first time in their 26-year history, CRP “is making its most popular data archives fully available to the public for download for free,” The Journal writes.  Sunlight helped fund CRP’s OpenData initiative to make millions of records available under a Creative Commons license, The Journal adds.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg with The New York Times wrote about President Obama’s promise to bring transparency to the federal government. She notes the administration is finding that fulfilling the pledge is easier said than done. Technological hurdles, privacy concerns and the Washington’s entrenched culture of secrecy have so far proven hard to overcome. Stolberg lists several steps the Obama team have successfully taken, the streamlining of a health care summit over the White House Web site and the setting up of Recovery.gov to help track the stimulus package. She quotes Ellen Miller, Sunlight’s executive director, as saying the site is “an amazing potential model of how information is made available to the public.”

The Huffington Post published an op-ed by Mike Klein, Sunlight’s co-founder and chair, where he commends President Obama for establishing a transparency policy applicable to lobbying and the stimulus program. Mike encouraged the administration to not limit transparency just to lobbying the stimulus program. “The president should now mandate real time online transparency of lobbying throughout the executive branch.” He also called on Congress to amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act so that lobbyists would be required to disclose all lobbying, whether of the Congress, the executive branch or the independent agencies, and in real time and online.

Ryan Singel at Wired‘s “Epicenter” blog profiles Sunlight Labs’ contest Apps for America, and asked his readers to vote for their favorites.  Mark Tapscott, editorial page editor of the Washington Examiner, also wrote about Apps for America.

Winter Casey and Bara Vaida at National Journal‘s “Under the Influence” blog and Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones wrote about mockups of Web-based lobbying disclosure forms John Wonderlich, Sunlight’s policy director, and Ali Felski, Sunlight Lab’s senior designer, created.