Sunlight Foundation

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The Sunlight Foundation


The Sunlight Foundation was founded in January 2006 with the stated 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. At the declared core of all of the Foundation's work is a focus on the power of technology and the Internet to transform the relationship between citizen's and their government. The Foundation derives its name from Justice Louis Brandeis’ assertion that “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”[1]

From Discover The Networks:

While it officially “does not support or oppose candidates for public office,” the Sunlight Foundation identified three specific priorities for the incoming Congress in 2007:

  • Contemporaneous online filing: “The public reports about campaign receipts and expenditures, personal financial disclosure, trips, gifts and travel currently required of lawmakers should be filed electronically [on a monthly basis] and shared online within 24 hours of their filing.” Moreover, the Foundation believes that candidates' Personal Financial Disclosure reports should be amended to require disclosure of the affiliations of lawmakers (and their family members) with political organizations or charities.
  • Ending secret legislation: “All earmarks, bills, and amendments should include an identification of the proposing Member's name. All non-emergency legislation should be posted online, in its final form, at least 72 hours before a vote.”
  • Meaningful lobbyist disclosure: “All who are paid to engage in direct issue advocacy with lawmakers and their staff should be required to register, and all registered lobbyists should disclose all legislative contacts, all legislation and regulations discussed, all contributions they make and coordinate to Members and organizations affiliated with members, all prior government employment, and any relationship to a current Member of Congress, staff member, or executive branch employee.”

The Foundation's initial projects – from the establishment of a Congresspedia, the making of “transparency grants” for the development and enhancement of databases and websites and two separate efforts to engage the public in distributed journalism and offer online tutorials on the role of money in politics efforts – are based on the premise that the collective power of citizens to demand greater accountability is the clearest route to reform.

Unfortunately, the supporters of The Sunlight Foundation are suspect and funding is provided, in part, by George Soros. Therefore, the transparency and the claim of participants of self-policing blogs etc., while reducing corruption and increasing accountability, is highly doubtful and most likely is being used to an extent as a propaganda outlet.[2]


The Sunlight Foundation was founded by Ellen Miller and Michael Klein because of claimed concerns about the influence of money and relationships, as well as a fear of corruption, in Congress. The Sunlight Foundation was launched in April 2006 with a $3.5 million contribution from co-founder Michael Klein, a securities lawyer.[3]

The Foundation’s co-founder and Executive Director is Ellen Miller, who previously served as Deputy Director of the Campaign for America's Future, where she directed its Project for an Accountable Congress. She also established the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics (which is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Joyce Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts) and Public Campaign (funded by the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Columbia Foundation, the Compton Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Ford Foundation, the JEHT Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy). Miller is the former publisher of, a former fellow at The American Prospect and an occasional contributor to The Nation.

Michael Klein is co-founder and Chairman of the Sunlight Foundation. In January 2006, he retired from the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering after 35 years as a practicing attorney. He now serves as a trustee of the American Himalayan Foundation and the Pen Faulkner Foundation.

A Senior Fellow at the Sunlight Foundation is veteran journalist and editor Bill Allison, who for nine years worked for the George Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity, where he co-authored The Cheating of America, whose central thesis holds that “the rich and powerful shirk their responsibilities” as taxpayers. Allison was also senior editor of The Buying of the President 2000 and co-editor of The Buying of the President 2004.

Another Senior Fellow at the Foundation is Larry Makinson, who was a journalist in Alaska in the mid-1980s and then worked for fifteen years at the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), including two years as its Executive Director. After leaving CRP he spent a year as Senior Fellow at the Center for Public Integrity.

The National Director of the Sunlight Foundation is Zephyr Teachout, who formerly worked as a lecturer at the University of Vermont and was Director of Online Organizing for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. A licensed attorney, Teachout has represented indigent death-row inmates in North Carolina for the Center for Death Penalty Litigation; she was also the co-founding Executive Director of the Fair Trial Initiative, a fellowship program that trains young lawyers in death penalty trial work.[1]


  • May 2006 - Sunlight Labs was launched to harness the power of developers and designers for transparency projects. The goal was to improve the openness of government. Milestone projects for Sunlight Labs include the National Data Catalog that indexes government datasets, Poligraft that pulls campaign contribution data out of any body of text and contests to encourage innovation through government data. Apps for America began in 2009 to spur developers to build applications on top of open data and continued with a second contest in 2010 building on the newly launched
  • June 2006 - The Foundation reported on Dennis Hastert's fraudulent real estate investments, the first major story for the organization.
  • January 2007 - The Sunlight Foundation launched the collaborative Open House Project to identify opportunities for Congress to embrace online tools. The project successfully encouraged Congress to adopt more flexible member websites, better committee information, more video content and xml versions of votes.
  • 2009 - The Foundation held the first annual Transparency Camp, a conference where open government advocates met to discuss problems and solutions with government data.
  • March 2010 - The Foundation announced the Design for America contest to encourage visualizations to make complex government information more understandable to citizens.
  • July 2010 - The Sunlight Foundation won the grand prize of the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism for their Sunlight Live project that incorporates streaming video, liveblogging, social networking and data presentation.
  • September 2010 - The Foundation unveiled a project called ClearSpending that analyzed how well government agencies were reporting their spending data on It found that $1.3 trillion in federal reporting data was inaccurately reported in 2009. The Sunlight Foundation testified twice before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the project and the report was updated in September 2011 to include continued 2010 data inaccuracies.
  • August 2011 - The Sunlight Foundation launched a series of applications for Roku players that enables users to watch live and archived content from Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court.[4]

Staff and Consultants

These individuals are posted as accessed on 11/07/11:[5]




Senior Technology Advisors

Sunlight Consultants



From the Sunlight Foundation website (accessed 11/07/11).[5]

Sunlight Foundation Board

Advisory Board

People (from July 2008)

From the SourceWatch website (accessed 11/07/11).[6]

Sunlight Foundation Board

Advisory Board



To investigate lobbyist expenditures in the states.

To support an open-source release of the Churnalism Project.

To live stream and archive meetings of various city working groups.

To jumpstart a secure whistleblower website that will allow governmental and corporate employees along with other would-be whistleblowers in the Appalachian region to safely leak information to the public.[7]


To continue support for the OpenCongress project.

For its "Will the Agencies Be Open?" project.

To support its Technology and Governance 2.0 Conference.

To support their Federal Priorities Data 2.0 Project.

For continuing support of the LittleSis project.

To develop a public database that tracks all advertising by source in the 2010 U.S. Senate and House campaigns.

To create a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) search tool for their site.

To support its namesake community-powered freedom of information request tool that files, tracks, publishes and helps analyze government documents and data.

To support the TurboVote project, which will help people keep track of every voting related date or deadline.

To develop a data scraper/extractor for City of New Orleans ordinances and its Home Rule Charter, and for technology upgrades for improved user experience.[7]


To continue to maintain money-in-politics resources and convert files to open data that would allow for free access to downloadable archives. It will also create and release new APIs and widgets.

To move their data on state-level campaign finance to an open source data commons. NIMSP will also participate in Sunlight Data Commons which will include complete access to previous and current data collected on state-level political donors to candidates, political parties and ballot measure committees.

To support, a project that encourages the government to improve the quality, accuracy and consistency of federal spending data that is disclosed. It will also advocate for the use of open source software in disclosing federal spending data.

To support their transportation earmarks research project.

For LittleSis, to support further development as well as the creation of a LittleSis API that will allow third parties to access raw data on demand.

For continued support of its OpenCRS project.

For the Federal Register 2.0 project, which will purchase and repurpose raw data underlying the Code of Federal Regulation.

For the Subsidyscope project, an initiative that will research and investigate the federal government’s transportation subsidies.

For continued support of their transparency reporting.

To get volunteer or stipended developers together with cities to tackle software, leading to greater municipal accessibility and transparency.[7]


To enable to redesign its web site to make it more user friendly, promote strategically more key money/votes stats about significant votes; develop video training and online tutorials; launch widgets of money/vote correlations; develop new "tabs" on its web site to demonstrate "money near votes" and committee "exposure" highlights; add a sophisticated user comment system and continue its ongoing research on each bill.

To enable Metavid to continue to build and improve their infrastructure, with an increased emphasis on developing a community of more collaborators and users to the site.

To continue investment in the joint Sunlight Foundation/Center for Media and Democracy wiki on CongressCongresspedia.

For its EDGAR 10-K data mashup/visualization project. The EDGAR database records U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings; this project will create an open database of relationships, with name standardization, of corporations, their subsidiaries and board members.

For the further development of a prototype of online database of information on powerful American individuals and organizations called LittleSis. Visitors can browse and search linked profile pages for current and former members of Congress, other government officials, Fortune 1000 companies and their leadership, top lobbying forms and lobbyists, etc. The profile pages integrate a wide range of public information and could certainly include information from the relevant databases that Sunlight currently funds.

To create a site which brings government data -- like census data, lobbying disclosures, voting records and campaign disclosures -- into a single place. It is distinguished by open-sourcing its software, its data and all the products of this data.

To support a project that defines a proactive agenda that will modernize and increase public disclosure of government information and the organization's web site. This project combines data from the Federal Procurement Data System and the Federal Assistance Award Data System to create a free, searchable database of federal government contracting and spending.

To support its OpenCRS project which harnesses the power of the Internet to promote the distribution of Congressional Research Service reports to the public.

For an initiative to investigate the rollback of government transparency and expansion of secrecy, through a special issue of the magazine (January 2009), interactive online content, a public event and an agenda outlining specific steps.

For their “Most Wanted” federal information project. It will build a site (with Sunlight) where users can contribute to a list of government data and documents that should be released online. The site both compiles information about often obscure but valuable government records and, using a Digg-like format, lets others vote on the information they would most like to see.

A youth-oriented organization, to support grants for young entrepreneurs who will develop ways to use Sunlight-funded databases and new technology to advance a "clean elections" agenda.

For work, in collaboration with the Center for Responsive Politics, to create standardized identifiers and a web site with this information, which will make the data publicly available.

To support Open Government Working Group meetings, to discuss and promote open government techniques and activites using the Internet.

To support the Preventive Journalism Prize, for journalism that investigates problems before they become crises, new and effective solutions to problems and government responses to these situations.[7]


To create databases on lobbyists, 527s, personal financial disclosures and travel, and to expand its campaign finance databases.

To enable the organization to develop a comprehensive plan to integrate and advance the use of the Internet and related technologies into their overall work.

To provide core funding to support the organization's federal search engine that interactively exposes the links between dollars donated by interested parties and congressional votes.

To create an open, online platform that contains a video archive of public domain U.S. House and Senate proceedings built completely on open source tools.

To continue investment in the joint Sunlight Foundation/Center for Media and Democracy wiki on CongressCongresspedia.

To fund an interactive widget that will allow citizens, via public radio stations' web sites throughout the country, to ask lawmakers specific questions and get responses.

To support an effort to establish a national branch of its New Journalist Program in Washington, DC for training of political news bloggers who will cover Congress, federal agencies, the presidency, Supreme Court and the influence of lobbying, the national press corps and campaign finance.

Grants to OMB Watch support a project to define a proactive agenda to modernize and increase public disclosure of government information and the organization's web site. This project combines data from the Federal Procurement Data System and the Federal Assistance Award Data System to create a free, searchable database of federal government contracting and spending.

To support its (OpenCRS) project which harnesses the power of the Internet to promote the distribution of Congressional Research Service reports to the public.

For the 21st Century RTK Project.[7]


To create databases on lobbyists, 527s, personal financial disclosures and travel, and to expand its campaign finance databases.

To provide initial funding for the public educations efforts of this new organization, the leading advocate for open floor deliberations in the U.S. Congress, to require legislation and conference reports to be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before floor consideration.

A project to define a proactive agenda to modernize and increase public disclosure of government information and the organization's web site. This project combines data from the Federal Procurement Data System and the Federal Assistance Award Data System to create a free, searchable database of federal government contracting and spending.

To fund the launch of its Open Community Open Document Review System, which provides an online review process that enables people across the Internet to review, tag, comment on and rate the importance of government documents received by CREW through Freedom of Information Act requests.

To invest in the joint Sunlight Foundation/Center for Media and Democracy wiki on CongressCongresspedia.

To support, to provide core funding to support the organization's federal search engine that interactively exposes the links between dollars donated by interested parties and congressional votes.

To support the development and implementation of several APIs so programmers can access and display in their own applications the Institute's data on campaign contributions to political campaigns at the state level.

A grant to this blog, which covers New York politics, supported the expansion of its nonpartisan coverage of the 29 New York congressional members, including their legislative and budgetary activities and earmarks.

To develop an Election Year Demonstration Project web site to cover everything that can be reported on a congressional election, with an emphasis on drawing on the talents and ideas of local citizen journalists.

To support a track on government transparency and accountability at its Young Elected Officials Network annual training and networking conference.

To support its launch and work to spur journalistic innovation by grouping veteran journalists and passionate amateurs in online, collaborative reporting efforts.

A one-time grant supported its investigative reporting and blogging on the “revolving door” between the government and the private sector.[7]



A non-partisan group of concerned citizens that are pushing for members of Congress to join Twitter to create a more open communication between members of Congress and the public.

To develop specific technical specifications for information services that will enable independent and effective public oversight of Recovery Act money and to rate the effectiveness of web services actually provided.

To support the development of a tool for a distributed project to capture 2010 earmark requests by lawmakers in to a single database.

For the Race Tracker wiki project, a non-partisan reporting project on the new OpenCongress wiki to track who is running in each congressional district in the 2010 elections. It will also feature district-specific data on the past three presidential elections.[7]


Which provides free address look-up information based on the U.S. Census, so that users can enter any address or intersection and learn the longitude and latitude coordinates for that location. The mini-grant supports the creation of an API to show congressional district boundaries for all U.S. addresses and the improvement of the site's open source address recognition system. Ultimately, this funding will support the site's ability to ascertain a congressional district from an address without the need to manually look up a zip+4 code on the U.S. Postal Service web site.

To support the creation of a legislator email management and constituent relations communications system to increase transparency between legislators and their constituents by organizing a more effective form of communication between the two groups. This web mail service pairs with KAP's existing legislation-tracking service, giving legislators and their staff the tools necessary to efficiently manage incoming constituent emails and systematize corresponding responses with personalized or automated letters. Sunlight's mini-grant will support a pilot email management system for one to two congressional offices and the entire Washington State Legislature.

Aggregates over 100 political news blogs in the Pacific Northwest and organizes several hundred postings by topic, specifically highlighting coverage by local bloggers of legislative issues and their representatives in Congress. This grant provides funding for web hosting services for this news aggregator site and its accompanying widgets.

To support the creation and maintenance of a web site that will archive video of key political speeches-including debates, State of the Union addresses, convention speeches congressional testimony and campaign advertisements-and facilitate online public critical analysis. Using, citizens will watch, evaluate and comment on the truthfulness of the speeches.

For their work to support a one-time fee for access to the Texas Supreme Court case management database, to allow exploration of the connection between Texas judicial campaign contributors and the rulings of Texas state courts.

To support the purchase of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations for redistribution as a public good, thus upholding the value of making government information available by lowering barriers.

The Richmond Sunlight web site monitors the activity of the Virginia legislature. Sunlight's mini-grant supports the purchase of an entire session of the Virginia Legislature's closed circuit video broadcast. The video will be then converted to QuickTime, posted on YouTube on a daily basis and integrated into the Richmond Sunlight web site.

A volunteer, non-profit citizen newspaper for its “i on NH Congress” section, for non-partisan coverage of the New Hampshire congressional delegation.

To support the creation of a web news hub service and email newsletter subscription service for bloggers, political activists, legislators, candidates and concerned citizens of Utah. This forthcoming web site will provide citizens with a full picture of daily politics in Utah, specifically focusing on local blog and mainstream media coverage of political news; congressional news updates, press releases and votes; a calendar of events including legislative meetings and messaging from all viable political parties and candidates.

To create a new, dynamic bill-viewing system for[7]


To support its work to harness social wisdom to aggregate and highlight quality online journalism about elected representatives, with a focus on accountability, corruption and transparency in Congress.

In support of the development of a series of conferences on open government.

To create a volunteer moderated web site system that aggregates news articles, blog coverage and links to Congresspedia articles for every member of Congress.

To support its outreach and efforts to determine the average cost, or savings, per individual of each bill introduced in Congress by performing calculations on government estimates compared to the US population.[7]


To support its development of a wiki designed to involve the public in creating and collaborating on laws and policy.

To fund software upgrades that power its web site, which educates voters as it highlights the issues of political corruption and transparency in government, particularly in Kentucky.

For the acquisition of polling data and a clipping service to support its work to report on the activities of the Arizona congressional delegation.

For the acquisition of polling data, a video camera and the cost of web hosting for this nonpartisan, not-for profit blog that covers Connecticut politics from town halls to the state's delegation in the U.S. Congress.[7]

The Sunlight Foundation website features four blogs on the subject of ethics and money in Washington D.C.; they are run by four of its principals: Citizen's Notebook (Zephyr Teachout); Sunspots (Ellen Miller); Under the Influence (Bill Allison) and Dollarocracy (Larry Makinson).[1]

  • Assets: $2,066,772 (2009)
  • Grants Received: $7,111,704 (2009)
  • Grants Awarded: $2,640,282 (2009)[1]



For general support.

For general support.

To fully develop and implement the Open States Project which will provide a new resource for identifying and tracking activity within state legislatures. (Grant awarded over two years.)

To advance transparency and open government through reporting, tools and policies that will further expose for public scrutiny the influence of lobbying in Washington D.C. and will promote the full implementation, codification and expansion of the Open Government Directive. (Grant awarded over 15 months.)

To establish a new pilot, post-graduate journalism fellowship program, the “John E. Moss Fellowship,” at Sunlight which will intensively train journalism post-graduates in new techniques and technologies. (Grant awarded over two years.)


For general support.

For general support.

To create a national, legislative alert system on the basis of issue or keyword – a Google Alerts for public policy.

For general support.

For development of open-source software that reveals the patterns of influence behind public comments.

For general support.

To expand and diversify a coalition of groups that will publicly demand transparency from the “Super Committee” and to coordinate action among the coalition.

To ensure greater transparency of the effects that corporations have on American public policy.


  • $27,525.00 OSI-ZUG

For support of TransparencyCamp 2011.

For general support.

For general support.

For general support.

For support of TransparencyCamp 2011.

For general support.

For general support, at the recommendation of Marjorie B. Roswell.

For support of TransparencyCamp 2011.

For general support.

For general support.

For support of TransparencyCamp 2011.

For general support.

Royalties from the book Beautiful Data, 1st Edition.

For support of TransparencyCamp 2011.

For general support.

For general support, at the recommendation of Andrew C. Florance.

For general support.

For general support.

For general support.[8]


To create a suite of National Data Apps - platforms and tools for delivering federal data to the public. (Grant awarded over two years)

For general support.

For general support.

To support the Data Commons Project to develop a repository of publicly available information on corporate lobbying and campaign contributions and better track governmental involvement with the private sector.

For general support.

For support of Design for America.

For general support.

For general support.

For general support.

For general support.

For general support.

  • $28,776.60 1674 Gifts Under $250

For general support, at the recommendation of Anonymous.

For support of Design for America.

For general support, at the recommendation of Sara Volgenau and Ernst Volgenau.

For support of TransparencyCamp 2010.

To support the 180 Degrees: Citizen Meet the Lobbyists Project.

Grand Prize Award for Sunlight Live: our interactive, real-time investigative reporting platform.

For support of Design for America.

For general support, at the recommendation of Marjorie B. Roswell.

Royalties from the book Beautiful Data, 1st Edition

For general support, at the recommendation of Andrew C. Florance.

For general support, at the recommendation of Bunny Burson and Charles Burson.

For general support, at the recommendation of Lucy Conboy and Brian Conboy.

For general support.


To create and launch web tools allowing easily accessible public information on Congress. (Grant awarded over two years)

To support a journalism training program and the development of transparency tools focused on state legislatures. (Grant awarded over 15 months)

Donation for Apps for America 2: The Challenge

Royalties from the book Beautiful Data, 1st Edition

  • $2,548.76 55 Gifts Under $250

Donation for TransparencyCamp 2009

For support of TransparencyCamp 2009



  • $2,925.0030 Gifts $250 or Less

For general support, at the recommendation of Brian Skinner.

  • $300.00 Anonymous Money Order[8]


For general support, at the recommendation of Sara Volgenau and Ernst Volgenau

For general support, at the recommendation of Sanford Ain.

  • $555.00 Five Gifts of $250 or Less[8]


For general support, at the recommendation of Sara Volgenau and Ernst Volgenau.

  • $945.00 Seven Gifts $250 or Less[8]



Money Business


Poligraft is a website and utility that allows anyone to uncover levels of influence in federal and state-level politics and the news coverage of it. Using data from Sunlight’s and Influence Explorer, Poligraft allows you to connect the dots between money and politics in Congress. Simply paste the URL or text of a news article, blog post or press release and Poligraft will create an enhanced view of the people, organizations and relationships described within it.[9]

Party Time

Party Time documents the Congressional Fundraising Circuit. From the early morning hours until late at night, there are opportunities for members of Congress and congressional candidates to meet with supporters behind closed doors, press them for money and party. Breakfasts, luncheons, barbecues, golfing outings, receptions, concerts, basketball, baseball, football — the social whirl is endless.[9]


Clearspending is a scorecard that analyzes how well U.S. government agencies are reporting their spending data on Clearspending is the most thorough analysis of this federal grant and loan data ever conducted.[9]

Influence Explorer

Influence Explorer connects the dots of political contributions on the federal and state level allowing you to track influence by lawmaker, company or prominent individual.[9]

Inbox Influence

Inbox Influence is a new tool from the Sunlight Foundation that allows you to see the political contributions of the people and organizations that are mentioned in emails you receive. This easy-to-use tool can be used for researching influence background on corporate correspondence, adding context to emailed articles or discovering who is behind political fundraising solicitations.[9]

Checking Influence

Checking Influence shows you how companies you do business with every day are wielding political influence. By securely analyzing your online bank or credit card statement, Checking Influence shows your spending alongside corporate spending on lobbying activities and campaign contributions, helping you to be a more informed consumer and citizen.[9]

Transparency Data

Transparency Data is a central source for all federal and state campaign contributions made in the last twenty years. Here you can begin your search, find the information you need and then download records of what a candidate has received, what an individual has given, and how much companies and their employees have given.[9]

The Low-down on Congress

Stream Congress

Stream Congress is a comprehensive web app that compiles, in real time, all Tweets, YouTube videos and floor updates from members of Congress into a single customizable information newsfeed.[9]


Politiwidgets makes inserting information on a member of Congress into a blog post as easy as embedding a YouTube video. They have 10 free widgets that can help you display lawmakers' top campaign contributors, earmarks they have requested, their voting record on any current bill, where their fundraisers are, along with many others.[9]

Open Congress

Open Congress brings together official government data with news and blog coverage, social networking, public participation tools and more to supposedly give you the real story behind what's happening in Congress. OpenCongress is a free, open-source, not-for-profit and non-partisan web resource with a mission to make Congress more transparent and to encourage civic engagement.[9]

The House Staff Directory

The House Staff Directory empowers the public to better communicate with their elected representatives by making available staff names and (public) phone numbers and addresses. In addition to legislative offices, the directory also includes staffers from offices that support House activities. It is no secret that congressional staff are the lifeblood of Congress, but identifying the best staffer to speak with about a particular issue is a daunting challenge.[9]

Reporting Projects

Lobbyist Registration Tracker

Lobbyist Registration Tracker, is a database which allows user to see lobbying registrations as they're submitted and the trends in issues and registrations over time.[9]

Follow the Unlimited Money

Follow the Unlimited Money, a product of the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, is a searchable database tracking organizations that are paying for ads and other forms of political communication.[9]

Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker

Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker digitizes information that representatives of foreign governments, political parties and government-controlled entities must disclose to the U.S. Justice Department when they seek to influence U.S. policy.[9]

Sunlight Campaign Ad Monitor

Sunlight Campaign Ad Monitor allows anyone to report information on the political advertising they see on TV, hear on the radio or view online.[9]

House Expenditure Database

House Expenditure Database - On November 30, 2009, the US House of Representatives released the quarterly Statement of Disbursements online for the first time. Since the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer posted these in PDF format, Sunlight created a searchable database of each House member's expenditures. This database contains information that is a subset of the information provided in the PDFs.[9]

Keeping Tabs on Government

Capitol Words

Capitol Words, explores the most popular words and phrases used by legislators in the U.S. Congress. Search the data from 1996 to today by state, date or politician.[9]


Subsidyscope, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, is revealing information on subsidies by building the most comprehensive source for subsidy data available. The compiled information will stimulate a more vigorous and informed debate about the full scope of federal subsidies and help policy makers make smart choices.[9]

Operation Transbearency

Operation Transbearency is no accident. It’s a movement when the folks at Sunlight heard that the infamous faux-pundit Stephen Colbert decided to take his message of Politics As Usual to Washington, DC. His mission? A march to Keep Fear Alive. Rather than feed into his fear-mongering, Sunlight decided it was time to stand up to Colbert by hitting him where it hurts: his fear of bears.[9]

Read the Bill

Read the Bill is a platform for strengthening our democracy by ensuring elected officials and citizens have the chance to read and understand legislation.[9]


OpenGovernment, a sibling site of OpenCongress, brings together official state government data with news and blog coverage, social networking, public participation tools and more to give you the real story behind what’s happening in local government.[9]

Transparency Corps

Transparency Corps allows anyone anywhere to have a positive impact on making our government more transparent by aggregating small actions that require human intelligence, but not specialized political knowledge.[9]

The Open State Project

The Open State Project gathers legislative data directly from state legislatures and makes that data available in a common format for use by anyone. The Open State Project data powers our site, They also have a Google group.[9]

Sunlight Live

Sunlight Live, winner of the 2010 Knight-Batten Grand Prize, is Sunlight's interactive, real-time investigative reporting platform. During major congressional hearings and news events, we stream live coverage combined with relevant transparency data about the influences on elected officials, while engaging an online audience.[9]


PublicMarkup lets you review and comment on proposed bills before they're introduced—or while they're pending—in Congress.[9]

Roku Open Government Apps

Roku Open Government Apps stream audio-visual content from the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court to any Roku player. The White House app offers high quality, live and archived video from, the Congress app streams video from the U.S. House of Representatives floor and the Supreme Court app is an audio archive of arguments and opinions issued and read by justices browseable by year.[9]

Mobile Apps

Real Time Congress

Real Time Congress is the fast and free way to access real-time information about Congress on your iPhone.[9]

Congress for Android

Congress for Android is the fast and free way to access real-time information about Congress on your Android phone.[9]

Congress for Windows Phone 7

Congress for Windows Phone 7 is the fast and free way to access real-time information about Congress on your Windows phone.[9]

Sunlight Health

Sunlight Health for Android and iPhone brings health data to consumers’ pockets. The app helps medical patients and their families make informed decisions about healthcare services and prescription drug options. It is part of Sunlight’s National Data Apps, developed with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.[9]

Real Time Investigations

The Sunlight Foundation sponsors Real Time Investigations, an ongoing diary of the work of journalists Bill Allison and Anupama Narayanswamy. Stories they have reported on include Dennis Hastert's Real Estate Investments.[10]


External links



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sunlight Foundation Discover The Networks (accessed Jan. 6, 2012)
  2. Sunlight Foundation SourceWatch (accessed Nov. 3, 2011)
  3. Aiming to Shed Light on Lawmakers The Washington Post, April, 26, 2006
  4. Sunlight Foundation Wikipedia (accessed 11/7/11)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Board and Advisory Board The Sunlight Foundation (accessed 11/07/11)
  6. Sunlight Foundation SourceWatch (accessed 11/07/11)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Who We Fund The Sunlight Foundation (accessed Jan. 7, 2012)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 How We Are Funded The Sunlight Foundation (accessed Jan. 7, 2012)
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 9.20 9.21 9.22 9.23 9.24 9.25 9.26 9.27 9.28 9.29 Sunlight Projects The Sunlight Foundation (accessed Jan. 8, 2012)
  10. Sunlight Foundation SourceWatch (accessed Dec. 19, 2011)