Sunlight on Save the Data

Aug. 20, 2012, 2:40 a.m.

During the budget debate in 2011, the Sunlight Foundation discovered that major cuts were being proposed for Electronic Government Fund – the crucial backbone of many transparency and accountability programs.,, the IT Dashboard and other federal data transparency and government accountability programs faced a cut from their previous $34 million level to just $2 million, despite only being a tiny fraction of the national budget.

The Sunlight Foundation launched the ‘Save the Data‘ campaign to convince politicians that Americans value these programs. Thousands of citizens voiced their support by signing on to Sunlight’s letter, contacting their members of Congress, writing blogs posts or just tweeting #savethedata. In addition to a dozen organizations the Save the Data campaign included civic leaders such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, Tim O’Reilly, publisher and web guru, and Clay Shirky, author and prominent thinker. The successful campaign resulted in acknowledgement from politicians that these programs should be saved and funding was raised to $8 million, though the debate continues.