Our work

The Sunlight Foundation is helping to create a more open and transparent government.

Our policy work joins issue expertise with an open, innovative approach to advocacy, bringing technology to analysis and lobbying, and adding substantive detail to our vision for digitally empowered governance and citizenship.

Currently, our three main initiatives are the Web Integrity Project, the Open Cities team, and Trump Conflicts-of-Interest project. A full overview of our current and past policy and project work is below.

Policy issue areas

Federal

Through our federal policy work, we promote transparency and accountability in the federal government by conducting research and oversight activities, proposing policy changes, providing comments, meeting with staff, and testifying at hearings.

Tracking changes to federal websites: The Web Integrity Project monitors changes to government websites — revealing shifts in public information and access to Web resources, as well as changes in stated policies and priorities.

President Trump’s conflicts of interest: We also have a team tracking President Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as President.

Advocacy: Additionally, we engage in advocacy targeted at both Congress and the executive branch. See our full federal policy agenda.

Local

Our Open Cities team helps make municipal government across the country more transparent, accountable, and participatory.

Community-centered open data: We are actively helping governments try out community-centered approaches to open data. We have also helped around 60 cities develop open data policies.

Open contracting: Procurement is an area where there’s a critical need for transparency. Our work on open contracting includes a set of guidelines for municipal open contracting and technical assistance with select cities.

Smart cities and digital rights: We have begun exploring the implications of “smart city” technology, and are looking to expand our research and advocacy around transparency and accountability for such technology.

State

Sunlight’s work on state-level policy has covered topics like open data and criminal justice.

One past project of Sunlight’s is OpenStates, a tool that makes it easy to track legislation in every state. OpenStates is now an independently run project. See their website »

International

At the global level, our goal is to engage open government activists and provide them resources to increase government transparency and accountability in their countries. We do so by expanding consensus on international norms for transparency; strengthening national-level non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as advocates for local change; and serving as a hub in the network of international transparency practitioners. For more information on this agenda, see our International Policy page.

Other projects

TransparencyCamp

TransparencyCamp is an “unconference” that brings people together to share their knowledge about how to make our government work better for people and how to empower people to connect with government. Read about past TCamps, and learn how to host your own.

Sunlight Labs

Sunlight Labs was a team of civic technologists that built a number of tools, APIs, and websites to help bring more transparency to government. The Sunlight Labs team closed down in November 2016, but several of its major projects were adopted by other organizations; see here for details.