How much do government statistics matter to the average citizen? Quite a bit – especially when they’re not accessible. So, the online New Jersey Data Book was launched, allowing anyone to access data about New Jersey in a user-friendly format.Continue reading
Philly Ad Sleuthing: Republicans are gamers; Democrats like gossip
An analysis of political ad buys at one Philadelphia station shows just how much voters are bombarded by political messages -- and how much office seekers and interest groups spend to influence them.Continue reading
Wisconsin governor scandal shows states as the new front in fight for dark money disclosure
It's still an open question whether the allegations brought against Scott Walker will end his career, but they could signal the beginning of the end to loopholes that wealthy donors use to keep their names out the public eye.Continue reading
OpenGov Voices: Creating Jersey City’s first interactive spending budget
Open CJ developed an easier way for the public to learn more about city spending by creating the first interactive spending budget for Jersey City, NJ. The project came out of Sunlight Foundation organized, PDF Liberation Hackathon.Continue reading
Barrage of political campaign spending follows shootings at Sandy Hook
Even in an "off" election year, groups on both sides of the gun debate spent millions to influence public opinion, and some have stockpiled big warchests for 2014.Continue reading
Christie brings his clout, fundraising chops to new role as RGA head
As he settles into his new post as chair of the Republican Governors' Association, a look at the fundraising chops of Chris Christie shows the Jerseyite already has substantial national supportContinue reading
Booker camp refused to share campaign filings with press
Cory Booker, the tech-savvy Newark Mayor, claims to support governmental transparency and legislation that would mandate electronic campaign filing in the Senate. Yet, just days before the Oct. 16 general election his campaign withheld important filings from the press.Continue reading
Government shutdown muddies transparency in NJ Senate race
On the eve of New Jersey's special election for U.S. Senate, outside groups have been bombarding Jersyites with political ads and canvassing efforts as both sides make final pleas to voters in a tightening race -- even the President got in on the action. But one thing Garden State voters will not see before they visit their local ballot box is a full picture of the candidates' campaign contributions. Like a lot of problems in Washington these days, this one can be chalked up to the government shutdown.Continue reading
OpenGov Voices: Chasing the 8-hour app
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.
Tom Meagher is the co-founder of Hack Jersey and the data editor at Digital First Media's Project Thunderdome in New York City. Follow Hack Jersey at @hackjersey or www.hackjersey.com. Reach Tom at @ultracasual.
A few weeks ago, Hack Jersey brought a group of journalists and developers together to wrestle with campaign finance data. We thought it would be a good opportunity for many to get their hands dirty and to start thinking about new ways of reporting and building with the data.
In one room of our event at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a group of journalists went on a data expedition, learning how to explore reports from the state's Election Law Enforcement Commission. In another, we gathered developers to try to build a campaign finance app for New Jersey using the Sunlight Foundation's APIs in a single work session.Continue reading
States Lead on E-Filing, Will the Senate Catch Up?
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