Sunlight Foundation

This is part nine in a series of posts that will explore some of the leading organizations from around the country that are engaged in unearthing and combating the influence of money in the political process.

Like MapLight.org, the Sunlight Foundation is a technology-oriented group that connects their own federal data (lobbyists and fundraisers) with other sources such as http://opensecrets.org/ and http://followthemoney.org/. Sunlight does not take positions on campaign finance reform or other issues. They are, however, very interested in training and supporting grassroots groups on the tools they offer.

The Sunlight Foundation provides funding for the creation of “cutting-edge tools to enable the media, bloggers and citizens to sift, share and combine government data in ways that are useful for them.”

Contact Information

1818 N Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
http://sunlightfoundation.com/
(202) 742-1520

Executive Director
Ellen Miller
emiller@sunlightfoundation.com

Organizing Director
Nicole Aro
naro@sunlightfoundation.com

Resources they Provide

Lobbying tracker: allows one to search for lobbyists, their clients, issues lobbied about, and lobbyist registration forms. There is also a “Post-Employment” tracker that shows when federal lawmakers and high-ranking staffers can legally begin to lobby their old colleagues; http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/lobbying/.

Party time: allows the user to search for political fundraisers based on a legislator or host. Information about fundraisers held by committees and leadership PACs are also available; http://politicalpartytime.org/.

Follow the unlimited money: tracks outside spending that benefits Congressional committees who have filed with the FEC that they intend to accept contributions of unlimited amounts. This includes the purpose of the spending such as advertisements and mailers; http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/independent-expenditures/.

Transparency data: combines the data from http://opensecrets.org/ and http://followthemoney.org/ to information collected by Sunlight Foundation. This includes campaign contributions, earmarks, lobbying, grants, and contracts; http://transparencydata.com/.

Poligraft: a website and bookmark utility that allows users to simply paste the URL or text of a news article, blog post or press release and receive an enhanced view of the people, organizations and relationships described within it; http://poligraft.com/.

Open congress: merges government data with news and blog coverage, and contributions by industry; http://www.opencongress.org/.

House of Representatives disbursements: details the spending of various offices in the House of Representatives, including those of Representatives themselves; http://sunlightfoundation.com/projects/expenditures/.

White House visitor logs: visitor logs to the White House with links to http://opensecrets.org/ and http://followthemoney.org/ (to provide contribution information) for each visitor; http://sunlightfoundation.com/WhiteHouseVisitors/.

Open government: contains state, city and local level information for the following states with more forthcoming: California, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas and Wisconsin. Allows users to track bills, votes, legislators, committees, interest group ratings for each legislator, and industry donations; http://opengovernment.org/.

Reporting group: is a blog with interesting stories that Sunlight Foundation has uncovered; http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/blog/

External websites: widgets via Politiwidgets, http://politiwidgets.com/, and an API (application programming interface) are made available for bringing data from http://sunlightfoundation.com/ to other websites.

Money in Politics series

  1. Money in Politics (introduction)
  2. Looking Beyond Campaign Contributions
  3. National Institute On Money In State Politics
  4. Center For Responsive Politics
  5. MOOSE: Monied Out-of-State Executives (case study)
  6. Public Campaign
  7. Common Cause
  8. MapLight.org
  9. Sunlight Foundation
  10. Good Jobs First
  11. Disinfecting Banker’s Day on the Hill (case study)
  12. Project Vote Smart
  13. Hitting the Jackpot (case study)
  14. Democracy North Carolina (case study)
  15. Connecticut Citizen Action Group (case study)
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