Today is the 157th anniversary of the birth of Louis Brandeis, a trailblazing advocate for civil liberties, individual rights and, yes, sunlight. For us, it's a day to celebrate and take stock of our mission, for Brandeis is our inspiration: The Sunlight Foundation takes its name from one of his most famous observations. Make a Louis Brandeis birthday donation to Sunlight!Continue reading
Disclosure vs. Systemic Reform: A False Choice
In a column in The Hill Meredith McGehee sets up a strawman -- that disclosure will solve all the problems of the money and influence culture -- and then tries to knock it down. (She never mentions who the current advocates are for that position, actually.) But it seems to me that every time she tries to makes her point she makes the opposite one. The most salutary change made in recent years, e.g. a ban on soft money, would not have occurred without disclosure, however inadequate and slow it was.
Of course, disclosure alone won't cure the system of its ills. Who would believe that? But what will? Surely full public financing would go along way toward that end, but until the political will is marshaled to make that happen here in Washington (it's already the law in Conn ecticut, Maine and Arizona) we need to know more about what lawmakers and lobbyists are up to -- faster, more comprehensively, and in searchable formats that are available on the Internet. Human nature being what it is, it will certainly make lawmakers more cautious. Who knows? Maybe it will stop some of the worst practices.Continue reading