Today Rep. Mike Quigley introduced the Transparency in Government Act, sweeping legislation that addresses issues ranging from making Members’ reports of their personal financial information more detailed, to making lobbyists’ reports more timely, to making the work of federal contractors more transparent. (We’ll link to it here as soon as it’s available online.) Sunlight applauds Rep. Quigley for taking on the challenge of shining more light on the work of Congress and the executive branch, as well on the outside forces that influence government decisions.
Rep. Quigley’s decision to create an overarching transparency bill was spurred in part because he came across Sunlight’s model transparency legislation on PublicMarkup.org. To refresh your memory, back in 2008, Sunlight put together a comprehensive package of government transparency legislation and asked you to “mark it up,” in other words, give us your thoughts, online, on ways to improve the bill. We received hundreds of thoughtful and substantive comments, and incorporated many of them into a second version the bill. It is the bill that you helped draft that became the framework for the legislation introduced in the House of Representatives today.
Much of Congressman Quigley’s bill will look familiar to anyone who contributed to Sunlight’s bill on PublicMarkup, and, as is his prerogative, some of it will have changed. We will go through the bill in the coming days and let you know what we like, what could be improved, and what new transparency ideas warrant further exploration.
By introducing the Transparency in Government Act, Rep. Quigley has advanced the cause of transparency and accountability in government. And, by using PublicMarkup to inform his bill, Rep. Quigley has demonstrated that good ideas, reasoned voices and modern technology can be used in concert to shape what happens on Capitol Hill.