At the end of last week the Sunlight Foundation made a number of new grants. We're really excited about the potential of each of them.
The work of ReadtheBill.org (which I've talked about before) is a hugely important effort. It could end the practice of ramming bills through Congress in the dark of night -- bills that are filled with favors for special interests, earmarks, and heaven only knows ((truly) what else. And think of what activists can cook up (particularly online) if they have 72 hours to read legislation and get citizens to weigh in. We think that ReadtheBill.org will make a huge difference in making Congress' work more transparent and in engaging citizens.Continue reading
Posting's been light this week. I spent a few days in New York meeting with other funders (JEHT Foundation and Open Society Institute), brainstorming with our far-flung staff and consultants (a virtual workplace is good, but sometimes you just have to meet face-to-face!), and talking with groups about their work. I've also been doing interviewing for new staff.
I'm quite fascinated by several groups' work that we've looked at recently. Rafael DeGennaro has created a potentially powerful populist movement over the simple notion that lawmakers ought to actually read a bill before they vote on it. His ReadtheBill.org (BTW you can find him at the YearKos convention this week), presents a positive agenda -- every piece of legislation must be posted for 72 hours before it's voted on -- that will enable citizens, activists, journalists, indeed everyone, to know more about what is going on in Congress and to express their opinions about it. Certainly one of Sunlight's goals is to not only make information available, but also to make it available in "real time" so that democracy is enlivened by civic engagement. Seems to us that DeGennaro has singled out a pretty basic element to making that happen. Following his "Mystery Bills" feature is a must.