BREAKING: The Supreme Court has handed down its #McCutcheon v. FEC decision, deciding to strike down aggregate limits on direct political contributions by claiming they are unconstitutional based on the First Amendment.  
It’s another major blow to America’s campaign finance system.
While we are not surprised by today’s outcome, we are disappointed that the plutocracy we predicted is now sanctioned by the high court. Thanks to the high court, wealthy donors can now pour millions more into federal elections - the decision effectively ties a big bow around Congress and delivers it to the 1%.Read Sunlight’s full response to #SCOTUS's decision here: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/04/02/sunlights-response-to-scotus-ruling-on-mccutcheon-v-fec/

BREAKING: The Supreme Court has handed down its #McCutcheon v. FEC decision, deciding to strike down aggregate limits on direct political contributions by claiming they are unconstitutional based on the First Amendment.  

It’s another major blow to America’s campaign finance system.

While we are not surprised by today’s outcome, we are disappointed that the plutocracy we predicted is now sanctioned by the high court. Thanks to the high court, wealthy donors can now pour millions more into federal elections - the decision effectively ties a big bow around Congress and delivers it to the 1%.

Read Sunlight’s full response to #SCOTUS's decision here: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/04/02/sunlights-response-to-scotus-ruling-on-mccutcheon-v-fec/

Posted 3 weeks ago
93 notes
sunlightcities:

A fascinating use of data: 
"It looks a bit like an isochrone, a map showing how far you can travel on a transportation network in a given time frame, starting from a single location. But this map tells us something about every point of origin in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region simultaneously. Specifically, it tells us how many jobs are accessible within 30 minutes – using the key at right – from each location by public transit, during the 7-9 a.m. peak morning window. The darker green areas have the greatest accessibility to jobs; the lighter green areas have the least. The red lines show transit routes.” 
Read more at Atlantic Cities 

sunlightcities:

A fascinating use of data: 

"It looks a bit like an isochrone, a map showing how far you can travel on a transportation network in a given time frame, starting from a single location. But this map tells us something about every point of origin in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region simultaneously. Specifically, it tells us how many jobs are accessible within 30 minutes – using the key at right – from each location by public transit, during the 7-9 a.m. peak morning window. The darker green areas have the greatest accessibility to jobs; the lighter green areas have the least. The red lines show transit routes.” 

Read more at Atlantic Cities 

Reblogged 2 months ago from sunlightcities
82 notes
From the Sunlight blog: 
While MLB players will be taking the field for Sunday’s and Monday’s opening day games in hopes of winning a World Series title in October, team owners may have their sights set on winning a different sort of Fall Classic.
According to data from Sunlight’s Influence Explorer, MLB organizations pumped in over $24 million to politicians, PACs and independent expenditure groups throughout the 2012 election cycle. 

From the Sunlight blog

While MLB players will be taking the field for Sunday’s and Monday’s opening day games in hopes of winning a World Series title in October, team owners may have their sights set on winning a different sort of Fall Classic.

According to data from Sunlight’s Influence Explorer, MLB organizations pumped in over $24 million to politicians, PACs and independent expenditure groups throughout the 2012 election cycle. 

Posted 1 year ago
46 notes
FYI, Washington: Sunlight now has a transparency drone. 

FYI, Washington: Sunlight now has a transparency drone. 

Posted 1 year ago
13 notes

As Congress inches toward major immigration legislation, a new Sunlight Foundation analysis (based on almost 8,000 lobbying reports) offers a comprehensive and interactive guide to the web of interests with something at stake.

The magnified images of several clusters display heavy lobbying interactions between related special interest groups (white circles) and the immigration issues and legislation they have frequently sought to influence (colored circles). 

Open States: Transparency Report Card

Today we’re making available our Transparency Report Card, a byproduct of the work we did in producing Open States.

Open States: Transparency Report Card

Today we’re making available our Transparency Report Card, a byproduct of the work we did in producing Open States.

Posted 1 year ago
6 notes
sunlightcities:

The Open Data Census is aiming to track the state of open data globally. Learn more about this project at the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog.

sunlightcities:

The Open Data Census is aiming to track the state of open data globally. Learn more about this project at the Open Knowledge Foundation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from sunlightcities
17 notes
A Corporate Responsibility App Inspired by ‘As Goes Janesville’


Inspired by the Independent Lens film As Goes Janesville, the BizVizz app serves as the transmedia component of the documentary, enlightening users how specific companies behave when it comes to corporate and social responsibility.
There’s a scene in As Goes Janesville (airing tonight on Independent Lens), towards the end, where the city council votes to approve a $9 million incentive package for Shine Medical Technologies. Shine is a startup looking for a town in which to set up their medical isotope operation and, like many companies, it is compelling cities to compete with offers. Though Janesville is desperate for jobs after losing their GM plant, $9 million is 20% of their budget. This is the scene that inspired BizVizz, our corporate accountability app.
Companies claim to be job creators and to contribute to our economy, but how do we judge their claims? BizVizz makes their records visible by putting the metrics of corporate citizenship in the hands of ordinary people. Allowing you to see shareable tax data, jobs data, and other financial information hidden in regulatory documents, BizVizz turns you into a smart, conscious consumer.
 

A Corporate Responsibility App Inspired by ‘As Goes Janesville’

Inspired by the Independent Lens film As Goes Janesville, the BizVizz app serves as the transmedia component of the documentary, enlightening users how specific companies behave when it comes to corporate and social responsibility.


There’s a scene in As Goes Janesville (airing tonight on Independent Lens), towards the end, where the city council votes to approve a $9 million incentive package for Shine Medical Technologies. Shine is a startup looking for a town in which to set up their medical isotope operation and, like many companies, it is compelling cities to compete with offers. Though Janesville is desperate for jobs after losing their GM plant, $9 million is 20% of their budget. This is the scene that inspired BizVizz, our corporate accountability app.


Companies claim to be job creators and to contribute to our economy, but how do we judge their claims? BizVizz makes their records visible by putting the metrics of corporate citizenship in the hands of ordinary people. Allowing you to see shareable tax data, jobs data, and other financial information hidden in regulatory documents, BizVizz turns you into a smart, conscious consumer.

 

Posted 1 year ago
10 notes
Why gun control faces an uphill battle in the Senate

As the Senate prepares to take up the first major gun control debate since last December’s shooting massacre in Connecticut, a Sunlight Foundation analysis of the political pressures on 26 key senators paints a pessimistic picture for passage.
Absent a major pressure campaign to push senators to support gun control legislation, the political calculus points against the Senate passing any reform.

Why gun control faces an uphill battle in the Senate

As the Senate prepares to take up the first major gun control debate since last December’s shooting massacre in Connecticut, a Sunlight Foundation analysis of the political pressures on 26 key senators paints a pessimistic picture for passage.

Absent a major pressure campaign to push senators to support gun control legislation, the political calculus points against the Senate passing any reform.

Posted 1 year ago
7 notes
Majority of states prohibit access to gun records

Following a New York newspaper’s controversial decision to publish the names and address of local gun owners, state legislators are moving to make such information private, even as a Sunlight Foundation analysis shows that in a majority of states, the data are already off the public record.

Majority of states prohibit access to gun records

Following a New York newspaper’s controversial decision to publish the names and address of local gun owners, state legislators are moving to make such information private, even as a Sunlight Foundation analysis shows that in a majority of states, the data are already off the public record.

Posted 1 year ago
72 notes
How the Parties Flip-Flopped on the Debt Ceiling

Because of some the work we’ve done before on last minute negotiations and divided government, Sunlight prepared the following graphic that visualizes the recent history of US House votes on the debt ceiling, based on public voting records and a CRS report.
We’ll have more commentary forthcoming, but here are a few initial thoughts on what this graphic makes clear:
Opposition to raising the debt ceiling is often partisan, with opposition coming from either party, based on who is in the White House. Many House Republicans have voted for raising the ceiling, just as President Obama voted against it when he was a Senator.
Divided government has necessitated support from both parties to raise the limit.
There is a significant untold story about the Gephardt Rule, a House Rule which enabled the limit to be raised with little public record. The role this rule played in setting up the current showdowns has been insufficiently examined.
Good access to congressional data and reports enables this kind of analysis; it could be improved.
Each of these votes was a predictable consequence of budgets that were passed before them, demonstrating another facet of political hypocrisy.

How the Parties Flip-Flopped on the Debt Ceiling

Because of some the work we’ve done before on last minute negotiations and divided government, Sunlight prepared the following graphic that visualizes the recent history of US House votes on the debt ceiling, based on public voting records and a CRS report.

We’ll have more commentary forthcoming, but here are a few initial thoughts on what this graphic makes clear:

  1. Opposition to raising the debt ceiling is often partisan, with opposition coming from either party, based on who is in the White House. Many House Republicans have voted for raising the ceiling, just as President Obama voted against it when he was a Senator.
  2. Divided government has necessitated support from both parties to raise the limit.
  3. There is a significant untold story about the Gephardt Rule, a House Rule which enabled the limit to be raised with little public record. The role this rule played in setting up the current showdowns has been insufficiently examined.
  4. Good access to congressional data and reports enables this kind of analysis; it could be improved.
  5. Each of these votes was a predictable consequence of budgets that were passed before them, demonstrating another facet of political hypocrisy.
Posted 1 year ago
21 notes
What is a City?

As we expand on our vision for local government transparency, we realize we need to start with defining what we mean by local.
The general scope of the work we’re taking on is targeted at the idea of “municipal” government, something we’ve been referring to internally as city government, though we’ve quickly realized it’s not that simple. Municipal government takes many forms, and if we’re being accurate, we have to set our scope a bit wider.

What is a City?

As we expand on our vision for local government transparency, we realize we need to start with defining what we mean by local.

The general scope of the work we’re taking on is targeted at the idea of “municipal” government, something we’ve been referring to internally as city government, though we’ve quickly realized it’s not that simple. Municipal government takes many forms, and if we’re being accurate, we have to set our scope a bit wider.

Posted 1 year ago
11 notes

Political war profiteers: 20 consulting firms churn 80 percent of super PAC cash

In the three years since the Supreme Court’s Jan. 21, 2010 ruling in Citizens United, the super PACs that the decision helped spawn have largely been seen as advertising machines. But an anniversary-eve analysis by the Sunlight Foundation show that they have created a class of super consultants.

Of the $620 million that super PACs doled out during the 2012 campaign cycle, records filed with the Federal Election Commission as of Dec. 6 reveal that 80 percent was spent through just 20 consulting firms. As the graphic above illustrates, a tightly interwoven network of Washington insiders reaped the biggest benefits of Citizens United and subsequent decisions that gave rise to a new class of outsider-insiders who have become a new political establishment.