This Is Encouraging

Sunlight Foundation

The Sunlight Foundation was founded in January 2006 with the goal of using the revolutionary power of the Internet and new information technology to enable citizens to learn more about what Congress and their elected representatives are doing, and thus help reduce corruption, ensure greater transparency and accountability by government, and foster public trust in the vital institutions of democracy. We are unique in that technology and the power of the Internet are at the core of every one of our efforts.

I’ve often thought of something like this, but a foundation that would do nothing but file Freedom of Information Act requests at the Federal level and open records requests at lower levels and publish the results on the Internet. Something like what they’re doing with the captured Iraqi documents. Just put the documents out there for people to examine and draw whatever conclusions they wish.

This “Sunlight Foundation” could serve a constructive role if they resist the pull to become partisan. Their staff bios make it seem like a lot of their people are coming from liberal 527s or “public interest” organizations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. We’ll see if they manage to attract talent from the conservative side as well and if they are going to really shed some light on the Congress or if they’re going to be another liberal interest organization.

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