Today we are incredibly proud to present the result of our Tactical Data Engagement project with the City of Madison, WI. The final product is a data toolkit designed to help nonprofit organizations working to reduce youth violence on Madison’s Northside find and use open data to better contextualize their work and goals in grant applications to the City.Continue reading
Video has become our trusted third party to police-civilian disputes. To improve police accountability policies, we need to make sure we hold on to our right to see the video of these events.Continue reading
2013 was a busy year for the Sunlight Foundation. The past 12 months were so jam packed that we couldn't contain everything to just a blog post (or email or video). Check out Sunlight's 2013 year in review.Continue reading
In the 2012 election 28 percent of all disclosed political contributions came from just 31,385 people. In a nation of 313.85 million, these donors represent the 1% of the 1%, an elite class that increasingly serves as the gatekeepers of public office in the United States.
More than a quarter of the nearly $6 billion in contributions from identifiable sources in the last campaign cycle came from just 31,385 individuals, a number equal to one ten-thousandth of the U.S. population. In the first presidential election cycle since the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC, candidates got more money from a smaller percentage of the population than any year for which we have data, a new analysis of 2012 campaign finance giving by the Sunlight Foundation shows. These donors contributed 28.1 percent of all individual contributions in the 2012 cycle, a record high. One sign of the reach of this elite “1% of the 1%”: Not a single member of the House or Senate elected last year won without financial assistance from this group. Money from the nation’s 31,385 biggest givers found its way into the coffers of every successful congressional candidate. And 84 percent of those elected in 2012 took more money from these 1% of the 1% donors than they did from all of their small donors (individuals who gave $200 or less) combined. This elite 1% of the 1% dominated campaign giving even in a year when President Barack Obama reached new small donor frontiers (small donors are defined as individuals giving in increments of less than $200). In 2014, without a presidential race to attract small donors, all indicators are that the 1% of the 1% will occupy an even more central role in the money chase. The nation’s biggest campaign donors have little in common with average Americans. They hail predominantly from big cities, such as New York and Washington. They work for blue-chip corporations, such as Goldman Sachs and Microsoft. One in five works in the finance, insurance and real estate sector. One in 10 works in law or lobbying. The median contribution from this group of elite donors? $26,584. That’s a little more than half the median family income in the United States. Watch a video summary of The Political 1% of the 1% Continue reading
This weekend, patriotism gets a technical upgrade as civic hackers and open government advocates all across the U.S. will participate in National Day of Civic Hacking events. At Sunlight, we've witnessed (and encouraged!) the growth of the community of civic hackers, and are proud to sponsor and participate in several events this weekend. Will we see you there?Continue reading
TransparencyCamp has come and gone, but the ideas that sprouted at TCamp are just beginning to come to life.
Steve Spiker from OpenOakland shared his insight about the transparency movement in the TCamp wrap up video below, “We’re saying things need to be different in our country and that’s only going to happen if you care enough to persist on it.”
The transparency community understands that progress starts at TCamp but it doesn’t end when you go home.Continue reading
Here’s an appeal for our readers: please help Sunlight spread the news of the great work civic hackers do as far and wide as possible by voting for our storytelling video in the Looking@Democracy contest organized by the Illinois Humanities Council with support from the MacArthur Foundation. (Voting ends May 16.) We couldn’t wait to tell this (previously) untold story through a short video to demonstrate how the nascent movement of civic hackers are creating apps and tools using open government data to make their communities better. These men and women are equipped with laptops, open data and creative ideas to positively reconstruct the way we relate with government.Continue reading
While it’s not at the volume of the Fall, our television screens are continuing to experience a case of “political ad fever.” From commercials about gun laws and tax rates to ads about alleged animal cruelty, issue groups took to the airwaves this winter. We reviewed the ad files in Political Ad Sleuth for the first three months of 2013 and mapped the trends among issue group advertisers in the nation’s top 50 media markets.
- Washington, DC — 14 issue groups bought airtime, including four on the topic of gun control, three urging the Senate not to appoint Chuck Hagel and one supporting the U.S. postal service.
- Milwaukee — 7, with issue ads around candidates for the city’s judge circuit race being the majority of the ones we found.
- Los Angeles — 6, mostly centered on candidates in the LA mayoral race.
City hall is a living metaphor for the way citizens and government exchange information. People visit their city hall to... View ArticleContinue reading