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/
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.
FYI, Washington: Sunlight now has a transparency drone.
As we started thinking about how to approach cities across the US, we had to think about where to focus our effort and attention. Should we focus on a few key, well-known cities who set the strongest examples of developing transparency and open data reforms? Should we narrow down the list to only the biggest, say, 10 cities, or break them into categories by size?
It turns out that most U.S. cities are far smaller than you might think. More than 80 percent of U.S. cities have fewer than 10,000 people. The scope and kinds of data housed in these cities might be vastly different from the data in a metropolis like Los Angeles, with its more than 3 million people in the city limits alone.
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.
The way we visualize and compare cities says much about our understanding of how they work. As part of our ongoing exploration of “what makes a city,” we wanted to survey how people are using data to describe the political, geographical and social realities cities face.
This interactive visualization by Forbes uses IRS tax statistics to track inbound and outbound migration by county and year.
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.
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.
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.