The Sunlight Foundation’s policy team is helping to create a more open, 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.
Sunlight and the public are still waiting for answers on what open government will look like in the White House of President-Elect Donald J. Trump. What we do know is that the president-elect has not only failed to set up a true blind trust for his assets, but in the weeks since Election Day has mixed the business interests of the Trump Organization with those of the American people, whom he represents. There is no way for a President of United States to recuse himself from making domestic or foreign policy decisions which would have an impact upon his business holdings. If the transition does not take action, the potential for the most corrupt administration in history is clear.
So long as President-elect Trump does not divest himself from his complex foreign and domestic business interests, both real and rumored corruption will cast a shadow over his presidency and everything he tries to do in government, whether right or wrong. After Election Day, Sunlight stood with over a dozen other transparency, anti-corruption and ethics advocates and sent a letter calling on President-Elect Donald Trump to liquidate his holdings and put them in a blind trust controlled by an independent overseer to remove the unprecedented conflicts of interest between the presidency and a global business empire.
On Nov. 28, Sunlight began maintaining an ongoing list of confirmed reports of conflicts of interest, where Trump business has clearly mixed with public business, and unconfirmed reports of conflicts of interest, where more reporting is needed. We’ll continue to update the embedded documents, below, as more relevant news stories, court filings and legislation enter the public record, including noting when or if a given conflict has been resolved.
Policy Issue Areas
Our federal level advocacy is focused on a number of important issues ranging from open data, to campaign finance disclosure and lobbying reform. We push for changes in Congress and the executive branch by proposing policy changes, conducting research and oversight activities, providing comments, meeting with staff and testifying at hearings. For more information on this agenda, see the Federal Policy page.
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.
The state and local team actively monitors and supports existing open data and accountability initiatives, researches case studies, supports best practices and proposes new policies. We’re especially interested in seeing how open data can contribute to a better understanding of the money in politics, improved knowledge of government services and transactions, and improved access to government processes and decision-makers for all citizens. For more information on this agenda, see our State and Local Policy page.