Every February 2nd, optimists around the country turn to a furry little rodent in Western Pennyslvania, hoping that this year Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow won’t appear — spring could be just around the corner!
The rest of us? We just expect more of the same: more winter, more shadows and more news about “shadowy” special interests clouding our government. Lobbying disclosure — clearing away the shadows around the special interests in Washington — is stuck in a “Groundhog Day” time loop.
We’re in a day and age where services like Twitter, Foursquare, and Gowalla let millions overshare publicly (online and in real time!) about each and every trip to their favorite burger joint or doctor’s visit. It’s absurd that the information that affects us all remains in the shadows — like when and how lobbyists for wealthy special interests are meeting with lawmakers and influencing policy.
The new Congress means we have the chance to improve the Lobbying Disclosure Act, to bring the aging legislation up to the speed and fix the current loopholes.
Through PublicMarkup.org, Sunlight is openly drafting the Real Time Online Lobbying Transparency Act, which would amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to foster a new system of real-time online disclosure of lobbying activities. We want to improve the democratic process by deterring and rooting out corruption, showcasing what issues are being discussed in Washington and improving the public access to government activity. We welcome and encourage your review and comments on the proposed legislation and hope to incorporate improvements from collaborators in the final draft.
This Groundhog Day, don’t accept the “politics as usual” rhetoric. With your support, we can break the cycle and institute meaningful lobbying reform that will bring the people influencing our government out of the shadows and into the Sunlight.
To get regular updates or to join the campaign for lobbying disclosure reform, sign up on our Lobbying Reform site.