Last night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the FOIA Act. The bill will codify a number of important, if incremental, reforms to the FOIA.Continue reading
Last night the House took an important bipartisan step towards greater government transparency by passing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, H.R. 2061 (DATA Act) on a near unanimous vote. The DATA Act will significantly improve the transparency of federal spending data, as well as make it easier to use, by instituting strong, government-wide financial data standards. It will also ensure that more, and more accurate, data is made publicly available.Continue reading
In its recent ad, The Tea Party Leadership Fund, asks all “true conservatives” to help TPLF successfully defeat the 87 Republican “traitors” who capitulated in the shutdown standoff. A Sunlight analysis of the targeted House members’ campaign funds shows that – unless present trends shift completely – the Tea Party Leadership Fund PAC would be vastly outgunned in a spending battle with the “RINOs” in question.Continue reading
The Republican Governors Public Policy Committee is a nonprofit organization with a multimillion dollar budget devoted to "promoting social welfare and efficient and responsible government practices" according to the most recent tax return it filed with the Internal Revenue Service. On its website, the group tells a different story: It's "the official policy organization of the nation’s Republican governors."Continue reading
On Wednesday, legislation to bring federal spending information into the daylight was favorably reported by the House Oversight and Government... View ArticleContinue reading
Legislation that would require virtually all agency reports to Congress be available online in one central location advanced out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday on a voice vote. The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, originally sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley and enjoying the bipartisan support of Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and ranking member Elijah Cummings, will need the sign-off of the Committee on House Administration before it can get a vote on the House floor. In March, 26 organizations wrote to the Oversight Committee to express their support for ACMRA.Continue reading
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee favorably reported a number of transparency related bills at a markup earlier today.... View ArticleContinue reading
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.
Seamus Kraft is the Executive Director at OpenGov Foundation -- an organization dedicated to developing and deploying technologies that support every citizen's ability to participate in their government and hold it accountable. You can reach him at
The best technology is insidiously useful. It does not force better ways of doing business. It suggests them, extending the familiar and comfortable without the user realizing she has gone farther, faster, smoother. Like the perfect note in a song, you cannot imagine it not being there.
But technology is only a tool. If it helps you do your job or live your life more efficiently and effectively, buy it. If it makes life harder, slower or more costly, don’t buy it. Plain and simple. Especially in the United States Congress, where money, time and tech are scarcer than snowballs in Silicon Valley.
The purpose of Congress is to make policy on behalf of taxpayers. Public officials perform very specific and specialized tasks to fulfill that purpose. Citizens keep an eye on them and hold them accountable. Can technology help these users — inside and outside of government — collaborate to do their jobs better? Project Madison, launched by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), was our first attempt at answering in the affirmative.
The Congressional Transparency Caucus is holding an event this Tuesday, March 12, 2013 to discuss recent progress in FOIA reform... View ArticleContinue reading
On January 30th, the House of Representatives held a public meeting on its efforts to release more legislative information to the public in ways that facilitate its reuse. This was the second meeting hosted by the Bulk Data Task Force where members of the public were included; it began privately meeting in September 2012. (Sunlight and others made a presentation at a meeting, in October, on providing bulk access to legislative data.) This public meeting, organized by the Clerk's office, is a welcome manifestation of the consensus of political leaders of both parties in the House that now is the time to push Congress' legislative information sharing technology into the 21st century. In other words, it's time to open up Congress. The meeting featured three presentations on ongoing initiatives, allowed for robust Q&A, and highlighted improvements expected to be rolled out of the next few months. In addition, the House recorded the presentations and has made the video available to the public. The ongoing initiatives are the release of bill text bulk data by GPO, the addition of committee information for docs.house.gov, and the release on floor summary bulk data. It's expected that these public meetings will continue at least as frequently as once per quarter, or more often when prompted by new releases of information. As part of the introductory remarks, the House's Deputy Clerk explained that a report had been generated by the Task Force at the end of the 112th Congress on bulk access to legislative data and was submitted to the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. It's likely that the report's recommendations will become public as part of the committee's hearings on the FY 2014 Appropriations Bill, at which time the public should have an opportunity to comment.Continue reading