Weekly Media Roundup – April 24, 2009


Here are a few of the more interesting media mentions of Sunlight and our friends and grantees from this week:

Sunday evening, BlogTalkRadio posted an episode of “Talking Gov2.0,” where Clay Johnson, Sunlight Lab’s director, discussed Sunlight, Sunlight Labs and the Apps for America contest. Speaking of Apps for America, Clay announced the winners on Monday. And Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb wrote about the contest, and included a screencast of the winners.

Victoria McGrane with the Politico wrote about the lack of online disclosure of campaign finance data by candidates for the U.S. Senate, and the efforts to rectify this through S. 482, the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act. She mention’s Sunlight’s Pass S. 482, and extensively quotes Lisa Ronsenberg, Sunlight’s government affairs consultant, about the need for the Senate to join the 21st Century.

The National Journal reported on data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) that shows last year’s top 20 Political Action Committee contributors to federal candidates poured a combined $22 million into lobbying efforts from January through March — an increase of nearly 20 percent over the same period in 2008.

Anne C. Mulkern with Greenwire (subscription required) used Capitol Words to look at the use of energy- and environment-related words by congressional lawmakers. The New York Times re-posted Mulkern’s piece.

CongressDaily’s Carrie Dann reported (subscription required) on a new study conducted by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) that shows short-term lenders have dramatically increased their spending on lobbying and campaign contributions since 2004. The industry is trying to defeat a bill that would cap annual interest rates on consumer loans at 36 percent. The Los Angeles Times used CRP data in reporting that Sen. Christopher Dodd (Conn.), the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, has received over $44,000 from the industry in the first quarter of this year. The Times quoted Sheila Krumholz, CRP’s director, saying that it’s hardly surprising that payday lenders would be contributing heavy to Dodd now.

The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported on a recently-updated Federal Contractor Misconduct Database by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) that shows Lockheed Martin Corp., the nation’s largest defense contractor, is the number one offender. The group found Lockheed linked to 50 cases of civil, criminal or administrative misconduct since 1995.

Steve Coll at The New Yorker wrote about following the stimulus funding. “Like ornithology, it turns out that stimulus watching involves a larger, more passionate subculture than might initially be expected,” Coll wrote. He highlighted OMB Watch’s budget-and-tax-policy section that “often produces wonky stimulus-related tracking.”

The May edition of the Washingtonian magazine will include a feature on the Washington, D.C., region’s technology leaders, dubbing them “Tech Titans.” The feature will include Ellen Miller, Sunlight’s executive director, as one of the region’s tech leaders. The magazine’s Web site includes a video with several short statements by the tech leaders featured, including Ellen discussing her favorite gadgets and using technology to bring government transparency.

Bara Vaida at National Journal‘s “Under the Influence” highlighted a blog post by Nancy Watzman, Sunlight’s Denver-based consultant, about the 170 fundraising invitations for 2009 events the Party Time campaign has collected so far.

National Public Radio‘s “All Things Considered” aired the first of a two-part story by Andrea Seabrook on the federal government’s data being opened up via technology. The first part aired Thursday, and it centered on Recovery.gov, the Obama administration’s site that’s tracking spending by the economic stimulus plan. For the piece, Seabrook interviewed Ellen, Clay, Greg Elan, Sunlight evangelist, and Andrew Rasiej, Sunlight technology advisor. Seabrook has lead us to believe the second installment, which is scheduled to air during this afternoon’s edition of “All Things Considered,” will center more on the work of Sunlight. The program begins at 4:00 pm (Eastern Time).

Update: Seabrook’s second installment can be seen and listened to here.

Thanks, and see you next week!