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Sunlight’s First Android App

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I want to invite all of you with Android phones to try out a public beta of an Android app that I've been working on inside the Labs. It's called "Congress", and it's a pocket Congressional directory. It takes full advantage of the Sunlight Labs API to show you up-to-date info about members of Congress, and to pull in updates from members' Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Install the app from your phone by scanning the QRcode to the right.

It's a small app, really, but there are several other cool features.

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More TransparencyCorps

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First of all, there's a new TransparencyCorps campaign up today: How Many Votes? We're trying get a database of the win percentages and vote totals for sitting members of Congress, for their last election. We'll be publishing the results in SQLite and CSV form, as usual, and we'll be integrating it into at least Congrelate, and a mysterious upcoming project.

In other awesome news, ThisWeKnow has taken the earmark data that we obtained through TransparencyCorps, and integrated it into their listings of data for cities. For example, check out the earmark requests for Pittsburgh.

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TransparencyCorps Meets New York

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After the success of our earmark campaigns, I've been working with the enthusiastic folks at OpenGovernmentNYC to help them launch a campaign of their own. Recently, they obtained from the NYC government a 169-page paper copy of the 1993 NYC Data Directory, bulk scanned it into a big PDF, and asked for help in digitizing it.

Visit the campaign and read Philip Ashlock's blog post to read a little more about why OpenGovNYC wants your help:

Update the NYC Public Data Directory

And if you're around NYC, consider going to one of their meetups - these guys are for serious.

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So Many Earmarks

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When we launched TransparencyCorps at the end of June, we ran a few small earmark campaigns, to digitize little batches of earmark request letters that legislators had posted on their websites. These campaigns wrapped up very quickly, and at the same time, the House decided to release earmark request letters en masse, and we didn't have to do our campaigns per-legislator anymore.

Given the demonstrated interest in earmarks, we decided to run a much larger campaign, for all the earmarks released by the House Appropriations Committee, starting with those for the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee. These were released in a single massive PDF, which I split up into individual 1- or 2-page request letters.

This campaign involved 1,183 letters, and we had the campaign run for 5,537 completed tasks. Total volunteer time, as measured on TransparencyCorps: over 472 hours. That's nearly 20 man-days. Here are the results.

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CapitolCamp

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At the beginning of this year, the New York State Senate brought in Andrew Hoppin as their CIO with a mandate to revolutionize the way the NY Senate engaged people. The NY Senate's new website is the first major tangible product of Andrew's new and talented team. On June 5th, I attended another result of this newfound momentum in New York's government, CapitolCamp. A one-day BarCamp-style conference, CapitolCamp was in Albany, at the New York State Capitol, hosted by the New York State Senate, CIO, and the New York State CIO.

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Post RailsConf

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Open government got a great spotlight at RailsConf this year, in Las Vegas. Dan Lathrop organized a panel on Government 2.0 there, and was kind enough to ask me to speak about Sunlight, and Wynn Netherland about his great work on TweetCongress. We had good turnout, and got plenty of questions. We even had a guy spontaneously write an IP address of an anonymous FTP server on a piece of paper, approach the podium to hand it to me, and promise us that there was raw legislative data on the other end.

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