The Democratic primary for New York City's mayoral election this Tuesday marks the end of a long, colorful chapter in municipal campaigning -- replete with sexual misconduct, name calling and of course big time spending.
The Big Apple's system of public campaign finance adds extra juice to candidates' fundraising forays -- the city provides matching funds for all contributions up to $175 with $6 in matching funds -- and candidates need every penny they can get their hands on in the city's high-dollar media market. FCC filings compiled by Sunlight's Political Ad Sleuth show that New Yorkers were bombarded ...Continue reading
It seems our Senators have a thing or two learn from their home states when it comes to campaign finance reporting: 31 states currently require mandatory electronic reporting ("e-filing") of their elected representative's campaign finance records -- a leap above our Senate, which has failed to pass no-brainer e-filing legislation for over a decade. Sunlight conducted a review of the current state of similar filings in the states (see chart below), and the results are pretty surprising -- in a great way. State governments across the country -- 92% of them, in fact -- require at least optional, if not mandatory electronic filing for both houses of their bicameral legislatures.Continue reading
The White House’s new Executive Order may be significantly different than the open data policies that have come before it on the federal level, but where does it stand in a global -- and local -- context? Many folks have already jumped at the chance to compare this new US executive order and the new policies that accompany it to a similar public letter issued by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010, but little attention has been paid to one of the new policy’s most substantial provisions: the creation of a public listing of agency data based on an internal audits of information holdings. As administrative as this provision might sound, the creation of this listing (and the accompanying scoping of what information isn’t yet public, but could be released) is part of the next evolution of open data policies (and something Sunlight has long called for as a best practice). So does this policy put the U.S. on the leading edge? Continue reading
As the Senate opens debate on gun control after a last-minute bipartisan deal, a review of legislation now before state lawmakers gives a striking evidence of how difficult it will be to enact restrictions on firearms into law, even given the political momentum such measures have received following the December shooting tragedy that left 26 people -- most of them young children -- dead at the Sandy Hook elementary school at Newtown, Conn.
A review of nearly 1,500 firearms-related bills introduced in the 50 state legislatures since the beginning of the year by Sunlight reveals that the post-Newtown push for stronger ...Continue reading
(Updated: 2:25 p.m.)
The National Republican Congressional Committee is making its first ad buy of the 2014 season with a blitz against seven vulnerable House Democrats.
Sunlight's Ad Hawk, which allows mobile phone users identify the sources of political advertising, picked up new spots aimed at the incumbents overnight. The early ads underscore the already-intensifying battle for the House, which President Barack Obama has vowed to put back in Democratic control. The president is travelling to the West Coast today for a series of fundraisers benefiting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Read the details on Political Party ...Continue reading
Calling all open government, journalism and data geeks. Please join Sunlight and friends in a bicoastal hackathon on the campuses of Stanford University and Columbia University on Feb 2-3, 2013. Registration is now open. Together, we will tackle how to create apps and sites that show what 2012’s political spending spree will mean for policy in 2013 and beyond. Register now. Do you write code or work with data? Do you want to learn how or enhance your skills? Join us to mine data for stories and visualizations that will help understand how money affects the issues that Congress and state legislatures will be taking up this year. Showcase your skills and knowledge and compete to win prizes.Continue reading
Yesterday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman attempted to throw down the gauntlet on campaign finance disclosure regulations for New... View ArticleContinue reading
Last month’s “superstorm” Sandy caused devastation throughout much of the mid-Atlantic, with many residents still recovering from the powerful and destructive storm. One person affected by Sandy was Sunlight’s technology adviser Micah Sifry, who lives in New York. On the website TechPresident, he wrote about how New York public radio station WNYC initiated a crowdsourcing project to keep listeners informed in the hours, days and now weeks since the storm hit the city. Here at Sunlight, we decided to take a look at the innovations created by technologists and ordinary citizens to help residents affected by the storm. In Boston, CrisisCommons organized the Sandy CrisisCamp — a series of hackathons at MIT and around the world that brought together volunteers who could contribute to Sandy relief with communication technologies. You can read more about what the technologists did and the lessons learned at the remote hackathons here.Continue reading