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Take a stand for transparency and support the Sunlight Foundation (now even easier and with more impact)

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CFC_1Black_RGB (1)At the Sunlight Foundation, we’re passionate about our mission to use technology and advocacy to catalyze a more open, transparent and accountable government. But we’re also a nonprofit and rely upon grants and donations to enable our passion and advance our mission. It’s all possible because of the generosity and help of our donors and friends — THANK YOU! So, whether you’re a current or future donor, we want to share some great (and a few new) ways to support Sunlight’s mission to advance open data and open government that are easy and, in some cases, can double the impact of your gift.

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Party Time at five! Take our transparency challenge

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August. It’s the month official Washington escapes the steaming city and heads elsewhere—and that includes the political fundraisers. But members of Congress and other politicians don’t stop their race for cash when they go home to their districts; instead, they take the parties with them. This week, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., is hosting donors for a Cubs game in Wrigley Field. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho has a “hook and bullet” fundraiser for his political action committee in Sun Valley. On Saturday, Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., will fete big givers at the Saratoga race course. We know about all this and much, much more because on this day five years ago, we officially launched Sunlight’s one-of-a-kind database of political fundraisers, Political Party Time. Since then, we have archived some 18,000 invitations and, in the process, gained new insights -- for better and for worse -- into the folkways of American political life. From the mini-golf course on DC’s gentrifying H Street NE to the links of Kiawah Island’s Sanctuary course, from Krispy Kreme breakfasts to champagne brunches, from Lambeau Field to a Beyonce concert, we’ve tracked the literally round-the-clock efforts of our nation’s elected officials to raise campaign cash and travails of their equally relentless fellow travelers: the lobbyists who must fork over the cash for a chance to dine on what goes for MRE’s in “This Town:” hors d’oeuvres on a toothpick. It’s a system nobody really loves: not the lawmakers who publicly bemoan the hours they spend raising money nor the lobbyists whose inboxes burst with ever more innovative reasons for them to spend time away from their loved ones.

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90 Percent of Business Execs Support Transparency Reforms for Money-in-Politics

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Transparent Business ManGood news for making the case for campaign finance transparency! The Committee for Economic Development, a nonpartisan business-oriented public policy nonprofit, released an illuminating report and survey of business leaders this week that shows large majorities of American business executives agree the campaign finance system is in need of complete overhaul, with 90 percent of survey respondents supporting reforms that disclose all individual, corporate and labor contributions to political committees.

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Get Funded with Sunlight’s New OpenGov Grants

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We’re happy to announce our new OpenGov Grants program to help you fulfill your vision of making government more transparent and accountable.

We know how challenging fundraising can be. You start an innovative project using technology to make government more open and accessible and halfway through -- you run out of money. At Sunlight, we’ve been there, and that's why we want to help you out. (Don't be misled by our name -- we’re not a foundation with an endowment, but rather a nonprofit that competes for grants just like any other 501 c3 charitable organization.) Indeed, we know how challenging fundraising can be.

With the financial support of Google.org, our new OpenGov Grants program will offer one-time grants in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 to help you achieve your vision of opening up government through creative innovations. OpenGov Grants can support anything from making a cool app to help residents understand how local government works, to creating an open source site to navigate state or local spending data to extending the capabilities of one of Sunlight’s own websites or apps. We’ll give priority to projects that develop open source software or data. (For details on what we will and won’t fund, please visit our FAQ.) Get inspired to apply by watching our video.

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In GOP leadership race, McMorris Rodgers has the dough behind her

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It looks like the Republican establishment will win one and lose one as it heads into leadership elections today on Capitol Hill. As always, campaign fundraising is playing a major role in the contests.

In the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., failed to convince two fundraising powerhouses, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio -- two men that may be eyeing a run at the White House in 2016 -- to take on the task of raising money for the 2014 crop of GOP Senate candidates. That means the job is likely to go to Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansan who has cultivated ties to the Tea Party. The Hill is reporting that some have questioned Moran's ability to raise the necessary stockpiles of cash.

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Obama September surge leaves Romney in a $360 million hole

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Unless Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney persuaded donors to cough up $360 million in September, President Barack Obama will remain the all-time king of political fundraising.Outline of the state of Nevada with bullseye

The Obama campaign released preliminary figures showing their candidate's dollar domination in September, when he raised $181 million, the bulk of it--some 98 percent--in chunks of $250 or less. That brings Obama's overall total to a staggering $925 million in the current election cycle, including money raised by his joint fundraising committees, the Obama Victory Fund and the Swing State Victory Fund, and the Democratic National Committee. 

Romney and his surrogates have ...

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