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Sunlight Foundation
Washington, DC

The Sunlight Foundation uses technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable.

The Sunlight Foundation is:

A think-tank that develops and encourages new policies inside the government to make it more open and transparent.
A campaign to engage citizens in demanding the policies that will open government and hold their elected officials accountable for being transparent.
An investigative organization that uses the data we uncover to demonstrate why we need new policies that free government data.
A grant-giving institution that provides resources to organizations using technology to further our mission and create community
An open source technology community that revolves around the Sunlight Foundation’s core mission

Sunlight Foundation is not verified as a 501(c)3 organization.

Latest News

Apr 23, 2014

Keep reading for today's look at #OpenGov news, events and analysis including data feedback, fighting corruption in Lebanon, and education APIs.series-opengov-today

National News

  • The Department of Education is looking for public suggestions about how to use its data and build useful APIs. (Gov Fresh)
  • HealthData.gov appears to be taking steps to comply with part of the Obama administration's open data policy that requires agencies to gather feedback from users of its publicly released data. (Executive Government)
  • A look at repercussions from the McCutcheon decision and potential paths forward. (Center for Effective Government)

International News

  • The Lebanese Transparency Organization is responding to the influx of refugees from Syria by setting up new Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres to help refugees and fight corruption. (Transparency International)
  • A new archaeological project embraces open science principles and releases all of its extensive data on a CKAN powered open portal. (Open Knowledge)

Events Today

  • TTIP Stakeholder Forum. Johns Hopkins SAIS. Wed. 4/23. 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Johns Hopkins SAIS, Nitze Building, Kenney Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Events Tomorrow

  • Informatica 2014 government summit. Government Executive. Thurs. 4/24. 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, GWSAE Suite, Washington, DC 20004.

Do you want to track transparency news? You can follow the progress of relevant bills on our Scout page. You can also get Today in #OpenGov sent directly to your preferred news reader!

Apr 22, 2014

A view of the west facade of the U.S. Supreme Court building, full of grand columns set to a blue sky background.
The U.S. Supreme Court. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard two unrelated but potentially far-reaching cases that turn on the question of just how much authority the government has to regulate the airwaves.

At issue in the first case: political advertising, and a local regulation meant to keep outside groups from spreading falsehoods about a candidate. The other raises questions about the ever-more complicated issue of copyright and the rebroadcast of "free" TV. Both cases involve entities that appear frequently in Sunlight's influence trackers.

Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

The Susan B. Anthony List is challenging an Ohio law that allows local authorities to block political ads that they see as making false statements. At issue are ads the anti-abortion group wanted to run during a 2010 campaign against Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus, who lost his bid for re-election that year.

While Ohio's "false statement" law shut down the Susan B. Anthony List's aggressive billboard attack ads aimed at Driehaus in the 2010 cycle, the setback has not stopped the group from running similar ads in other states. On April 11 of this year, the pro-life political committee announced a multi-state billboard campaign featuring material nearly identical to the controversial ads aimed at Driehaus. This time, they will run in hot button Senate elections, targeting Democratic candidates Mark Pryor, Ark., Mary Landrieu, La., and Kay Hagan, N.C (see below).

A billboard from the Susan B Anthony List stating "Shame on Kay Hagan! Hagan voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion"
Image credit: Susan B. Anthony List

In the same press release the group's president, Marjorie Dannenfelser pushed back on the idea that her group was pushing false claims about politicians that supported Obamacare, “[r]esearch both from the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the Kaiser Foundation found that millions of women will gain elective abortion coverage under Obamacare through the Medicaid expansion and new federal premium subsidies."

Filings collected by Sunlight's Real-Time FEC tracker show the group has spent just over $70,000 on independent expenditures in the 2014 cycle, focusing most of its financial muscle on the special Republican primary taking place Tuesday in Florida's 19th Congressional District. The committee spent $50,000 on campaign mailings and robocalls supporting Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Republican state senator in a three-way race for her party's nomination.

The 2014 cycle also saw the national group get active on the local stage. Of particular emphasis was a 2013 municipal referendum in Albuquerque, which would have banned abortions performed at 20 weeks or later. SBA List spent $50,000 on an ad campaign (see them all on Political Ad Hawk) featuring an OBGYN and parents that supported the Unborn Child Protection Ordinance. Though the referendum ultimately failed, the organization has made the prevention of post 20-week abortions its "top legislative priority" and supports federal legislation similar to the Albuquerque referendum in the House and Senate. The group's first quarter lobbying disclosure reveals that Susan B. Anthony's in-house lobbyists have been rallying support for the measure on Capitol Hill. SBA spent $110,000 on lobbying during that period, also targeting abortion coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

ABC v. Aereo

In Tuesday's second case, American Broadcast Companies v. Aereo Inc., a flotilla of entertainment industry powerhouses are trying to convince the justices to keep an upstart company from snatching their works from the public airwaves and retransmitting them to paying customers on the Internet.

Aereo, the Internet rebroadcasting company, is backed by media mogul Barry Diller, whose campaign contributions include $7,000 to Barack Obama as well as other big-name Democrats. But Diller launched a broadside in the Wall Street Journal against the Obama administration recently for siding against Aereo in the Supreme Court case.

Diller accused Obama's Justice Department of having been "corralled" by the broadcasters. There's no question that the interests arrayed against Aereo have far more skin in the Washington influence game that even a major donor like Diller, according to campaign contributions analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics and compiled by Sunlight's Influence Explorer. Among the groups filing amicus briefs against Aereo: The National Association of Broadcasters, which has made more than $11 million in campaign contributions, according to Influence Explorer; Major League Baseball and the National Football League, which combined have funneled nearly $5 million into campaigns (and that doesn't count contributions from employees of individual baseball and football teams); Time Warner, $29 million; and Viacom, $10 million.

As you can see from the Influence Explorer profiles we've linked above, all of these organizations of wide experience in lobbying as well.

Apr 22, 2014

The Local team speaks regularly with people from all across the country about the benefits of open data. Though these in-person conversations are full of the kinds of tools, reportage and innovations that exemplify the benefits of open data to us, we realized that having our favorite examples written down would let us share them more easily. Our new “Impacts of Open Data” document is intended to provide a concrete overview of the kinds of benefits localities might enjoy from opening their data for public use.

Open Leatherman multitool
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When we’re talking with localities that are just beginning to learn about it, we find that it’s helpful to describe the benefits of opening government data in terms of broad categories. Recently, we've seen a number of great presentations on how open data can spur economic activity, and lists presenting the economic value of open data — like GovLab's Open Data 500, Socrata's Userbase and McKinsey & Company's Open Data report — provide useful demonstrations of the ways that open data can produce economic benefits.

As an organization focused on opening government, we emphasize other facets of the open data story. The Sunlight Foundation is particularly interested in the way that open data helps to increase transparency, allowing people a closer view of the decisions and processes that elected officials undertake on behalf of the public. We’re also interested in the accountability that can be enabled by open data. Democratic governance improves when people have data that helps them see how officials are doing relative to past or promised performance.

While transparency and accountability are of special interest to us here at Sunlight, we generally also mention a few additional categories of benefit we’ve seen governments enjoy from opening their data. We’ve seen ways that open data can be used to identify new efficiencies within governments — a variety of benefit likely to be of interest to any official watching their government’s bottom line. We’ve seen open data employed as a way to evaluate and improve local service quality. Finally, we’ve seen open data used to enhance two-way communication between the public and their governments and to thereby increase public participation.

What are the effects of open data? Take a look at our new collection of examples and see for yourself.

The Impacts of Open Data by Sunlight Foundation

Apr 22, 2014

Keep reading for today's look at #OpenGov news, events and analysis including drone disclosure, a problematic open data roll out in England, and the changing role of the public library.series-opengov-today

National News

  • The Obama Administration warned most intelligence employees of dire consequences if they dare talk to the press. (The Hill)
  • The US Chamber of Commerce dropped a cool $19 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2014. (Roll Call)
  • A new report, out in the wake of high profile technology failures by government, shows that there is a deficit of tech talent in government and civil society. (E Pluribus Unum)
  • The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Obama administration to release the full legal justification for its targeting drone killing program, which includes American citizens on foreign soil. The administration has fiercely resisted releasing the full document. (Ars Technica)

International News

  • England's Care.data "open data" project is a text book example of how not to run an open data program. (Tech President)

State and Local News

  • Libraries are adapting for the digital age and beginning to embrace their role as "hubs of knowledge," where residents can tap into the larger information world and gain skills. (Data-Smart City Solutions)

Events Today 4/22

Events Tomorrow 4/23

  • TTIP Stakeholder Forum. Johns Hopkins SAIS. Wed. 4/23. 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Johns Hopkins SAIS, Nitze Building, Kenney Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Do you want to track transparency news? You can follow the progress of relevant bills on our Scout page. You can also get Today in #OpenGov sent directly to your preferred news reader!

Apr 21, 2014

Screen shot from a VAlues are Vital ad
Image credit: Values are Vital Youtube channel

On Tuesday, voters head to the polls to decide a bitter special Republican primary for Florida's 19th district. The GOP winner will be the hands down favorite to win the general election in the conservative district formerly represented by Trey Radel, R, who resigned in the wake of an arrest for cocaine possession. Radel's departure — and former Republican congressman Connie Mack IV's decision not to run — paved the way for a bitter three way race in the Southwest Florida district. Candidates and outside groups have levied charges of ethical improprieties and pseudo-conservatism in an influence war that has cost over $6 million all told. With the aid of Sunlight tools, here are three quick insights into the moneyed interests behind the ad wars.

Clawson outspent his competitors thanks to personal wealth

The campaign committee of Curt Clawson, the Harvard-educated businessman, spent more than $2.2 million producing TV and internet ads, printing mailers and paying consultants in the abbreviated election cycle. So, who does Clawson have to thank for this political largesse? Mostly, himself. Clawson for Congress received $3.4 million from the candidate  compared to just under $210,000 raised from other sources — mostly individual donors based in the Sunshine state.

While Clawson leads in recent polls and scored the endorsement of retired Rep. Connie Mack IV, he hasn't gotten much boost from independent political groups except for the State Tea Party Express (based out of a Sacramento, Calif. political consulting firm) and the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. Both entered the race in mid-April, combining to spend around $115,000 on direct mail and "telemarketing."

Kreegel received more financial support from outside groups than his two opponents combined

Values Are Vital (VAV), a super PAC established during the early stages of the Radel scandal by a Las Vegas lawyer and a Miami retiree, has outpaced other outside spending groups by a wide margin. The hard hitting committee — which has Paige Kreegel's opponents in TV attack ads — has spent a little less than $1.6 million on independent expenditures as of the most recent reports available Monday, compared to $780,000 of outside support for state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (mostly from the Liberty and Leadership Fund) and the $115,000 spent in support of Clawson by Tea Party groups.

VAV was behind a slew of ads questioning the apparent business dealings between Clawson and a convicted pedophile from Utah, though the victim's mother has since publicly defended Clawson against the ads, "it's wrong and I'm asking it to stop. My ex-husband and I don't know Curt Clawson very well. I was the real estate agent when he purchased a house and I met him one time."

As Sunlight previously reported, the group's founder and treasurer, Ronald Firman, declined to discuss why the PAC recently refunded over one million dollars to Firman and fellow financial backer Martin Burns.

The Liberty and Leadership Fund is financed in part by the state GOP

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the largest outside benefactor of Benacquisto, the Liberty and Leadership Fund, received around $300,000 from the state Republican party. According to the Times, the money passed through several other committees before reaching the super PAC. While coordination with super PACs is prohibited, a spokesperson for the Republican committee said the party has no control over what happens to their contributions after they have been transferred.

Apr 21, 2014

Constituent communication is a big part of what we're into at Sunlight — we believe that a legislature in close touch with an active and engaged electorate is the most effective tool we have for maintaining a working democracy.

Understandably, then, it's long dismayed us that Congress doesn't provide an easy or straightforward way to have that kind of discourse. Each member's email is obscured by a contact form — and while perhaps it's fair that our legislators not be subject to constant bombardment and spam, these forms often aren't intuitive, accessible or sometimes even meant to be used. Many are guarded by CAPTCHAs or gated by a zip+4 requirement, ensuring that nobody living outside a lawmaker's home district (or perhaps even those who aren't able to find out what their zip4 is) is able to contact them for any reason. Sure there's the congressional phone tree, and phone calls are still the best way for Jane Q. Public to get her voice heard on the Hill outside of in-person visits, but operating hours are limited and, let's face it, phones are inconvenient.

Screenshot of OpenCongress' contact-your-reps tool
Contact-Congress data is currently in use on OpenCongress' contact tool, originally built by the Participatory Politics Foundation

So we're left with forms that won't work unless you specify whether you're a Mr., Mrs. or Miss; that require you to know which side of the street you live on and how that maps to some arcane number maintained by the post office; and that demand you categorize your message into some predefined bucket, regardless of whether there's one that's appropriate or not. We live in a nation that invented the telephone and email, surely we can do better than this.

Building on a well-laid foundation

David Moore and the folks at the Participatory Politics Foundation thought so, too, and a few years ago — with funding from Sunlight — they built Formageddon, a tool for programmatically filling out reverse-engineered contact forms for members of Congress. Formageddon was, as far as I know, the first of its kind, and somewhat of a marvel — it dealt with CAPTCHAs, errors, retries and did a darn good job of letting users of their site OpenCongress contact all 3 of their lawmakers in one go. Pretty great!

Sunlight has been the maintainer of OpenCongress for almost a year now, and some of the original Formageddon code still powers our contact-your-rep feature on the site. It did a great job, but one thing that always irked us was that while the tool itself is free and open-source, the data that powered it — the instructions for how to fill out these forms — was locked away in our database. We had no great way to get more eyeballs on it, and we were solely responsible for maintaining it — knowing when it broke, figuring out a fix and resending any messages that had failed. With limited development resources, this seemed to us like a pretty bleak approach that we wouldn't be able to maintain over time.

Working out in the open

So while I was gearing up for the daunting task of fixing a huge number of representatives whose forms had fallen out of date, my colleagues Eric Mill and Amy Ngai were talking to the Electronic Frontier Foundation about a new mechanism for constituent communication that could be maintained in the open. We've had great luck collaborating with other folks in the open gov space in the @unitedstates organization on Github — a civic commons of sorts where folks who have to write data-ingesting or -cleaning code anyway can donate it to the greater good. @unitedstates repos power tools for not only us, but also the likes of folks working with GovTrack.us, The New York Times, Yahoo! News, Time and probably many others by now. We're all incentivized to keep the code and data up-to-date and everybody wins as a result.

So we decided that any new effort should be done in this same spirit, and with that, Contact-Congress was born. As we began working, it turned out we weren't even remotely alone in looking for a solution to this problem. There are few vendors that provide constituent communication as a service, and even they are mostly locked in to one or two upstream providers who route their messages. We found that it was a common point of frustration among vendors that they were powerless to fix bugs as they came up, and it could take hours or days before upstream fixes were made, which sounds like an advertisement for open source in and of itself. I'm certain that we never would have found all of the folks in this same space with us, and that our work would have been far more difficult and far less successful had we decided to go it on our own, and I think that's a huge open source lesson totally validated by our experience — if it's worth doing, it's probably worth sharing.

How it works

The project's core data (like other @unitedstates efforts) is serialized in YAML, a compact and human-readable data format. Each member's form is codified into a couple lines of metadata followed by a set of steps to be taken by some piece of backend software to fill out and submit the form in question. When deciding on a language set to use for distilling this information, I looked at existing tools which seek to automate interaction with web pages.

Jonas Nicklas' Capybara stuck out to me as a great example of a pluggable system for scripting a web user, so I decided on a subset of its commands — a member's contact steps may include keys like "visit," "fill_in," "select," "click_on" and others to help determine what should be done and in what order. Repeated actions on different fields — such as filling in a dozen text inputs — can be collapsed into a single "fill_in" array for brevity, so long as the order of operations remains intact.

Following these instructions can be as simple as parsing and transforming the YAML out to a capybara script, or integrated into a much more robust system in whatever way the integrator sees fit. OpenCongress has been retrofitted to use this data, and the EFF's Congress-Forms project has been built around it from the get-go. You can see examples of the schema here, which should all look pretty readable if you're at all familiar with HTML forms and CSS selectors.

GitHub is seriously emerging as the backbone of modern civic hacking

If there's one takeaway from the whirlwind of the last week or so, this is it: Every aspect of our effort, from our first run at the Senate nine months ago to the awe-inspiring conquering of the entire House in two days by EFF's volunteer corps, worked as well as it did because we used git, and more specifically, GitHub.

Screenshot of the current status of legislators' contact forms
A continuously updated readout of each member's status is available on the contact-congress project page, thanks to the hard work of Bill Budington and the EFF

We share all of our data as YAML files hosted in version control, and can easily pinpoint changes made to any lawmaker's form right at the instant that it's committed by a maintainer. We can use the log to find out whose forms have changed and selectively update those in our system without having to rebuild everything from scratch on each import, saving CPU cycles, energy and money.

The bookmarklet code I wrote to help contributors generate the YAML itself pulls live data from other GitHub repositories via their API in order to stay up-to-date as legislators are elected in and out. We built continuous-integration style testing which can be run automatically via GitHub's service hooks to make sure that new changes in fact fix the problem. We used GitHub issues to track every member's form and coordinate more than 150 individual contributors all pushing code at the same time.

GitHub brought sanity to total chaos throughout this process, and I found it fascinating how the workflow we're used to implementing with a pretty small team of developers at Sunlight scaled almost effortlessly (hopefully I can say this without slighting the heroic folks who also did tons of coordination on IRC while this was all going down; thanks Sina Khanifar, Bill Budington, Thomas Davis, Jason Rosenbaum and all the contributors who helped to shepherd folks once they got the hang of things) to a ludicrous number of contributors. Even the project's site and documentation are hosted for free on GitHub Pages. GitHub is seriously a national treasure.

How you can get involved

While an overwhelming amount of generosity and help went into getting this data gathered for the current Congress, this remains an ongoing need. With each election cycle comes a new crop of members who'll need to have their forms done. Likewise, websites change and are redesigned all the time, and just like any scraper, our forms will break. So, if this project sounds interesting to you, you can watch or star it on GitHub and pitch in when you see a member's form fall out of the green. Contributors are working on getting an automated system in place to re-open tickets when forms break, so it should be pretty easy to remain proactive about fixes. You can read all about how folks are contributing to the project, and about its current status at http://theunitedstates.io/contact-congress/.

Screenshot of the documentation for contributing to contact-congress
It's easy to get started contributing, thanks to a series of videos created by Sina Khanifar of taskforce.is

Finally, a (long) word of thanks

So much collective time and effort went into getting over this hurdle in such an impressive fashion that I feel compelled to name names. I myself was out of the country when the volunteer call went out and so the hard in-the-trenches work was done by other folks who took to it more naturally than anyone could have hoped. So from Eric, Amy and myself at Sunlight to Rainey Reitman, Bill, Sina and Thomas working with EFF, Jason at Action Network, Paul Nickerson and all of the project's contributors so far:

@moizsyed, @darrikmazey, @fazam, @unthunk, @d-reinhold, @dsissitka, @kuyan, @sqweak, @agrif, @buchelew, @estiens, @Aaron1011, @livesurge, @mejackreed, @sinned, @lauradhamilton, @scrozier, @liviucmg, @timdavila, @stevenmg, @zanetaylor, @spulec, @akosednar, @makecakenotwar97, @ptariche, @ahdinosaur, @elcapo, @rhunbre, @NickMk, @amit, @anmonteiro, @rwinikates, @j4yd0rs3y, @cllunsford, @andylolz, @chill117, @shwei, @gcosta, @Braunson, @fly, @netinept, @spiggy, @pjfamig, @imthinhvu, @ralfharing, @gronkeff, @gruiz17, @ryan-ludwig, @schmich, @carter-sande, @johnjminer, @mandarg, @an, @fiendly, @radioation, @greggawatt, @kfinity, @jadient, @mariehuynh, @norova, @knoxzin1, @josegonzalez, @winterchord, @dmelliott0311, @wigginus, @trusche, @EhevuTov, @rayashman, @ricanking787, @6a68, @sodaplayer, @wxguychris, @noahc, @clindsay107, @rabdill, @ruishi, @benvinegar, @evonfriedland, @garrettpauls, @ericburns, @malikabdul, @sjs, @Edderic, @dustinbrownman, @abrudtkuhl, @billyvg, @ahadb, @deepakhj, @jonocodes, @morganestes, @danasf, @omsai, @cbumgard, @vincentbarr,

...plus the 50-some more whose names I can't get to on the project's contributors page, THANK YOU!

Apr 21, 2014

Logo of the super PAC American Crossroads, which was founded by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.
American Crossroads raised big bucks in March, and LLC money in February.

After an anemic February — when American Crossroads brought in only $260,000 — the super PAC scored big in March, raising over $5.2 million, including big checks from familiar donors like hedge fund mogul Paul Singer, leveraged buyout artist John W. Childs and former Univision chairman Jerry Perenchio, who chipped in $2 million.

But while big donors came up big in March, a pair of obscure companies made up more than half of American Crossroads' more modest take in February — ones that do not disclose their ownership in corporate filings.

American Crossroads' February fundraising suggests that the practice of hiding the identity of donors to super PACs behind limited liability companies will continue in 2014. Called LLCs, these companies can be owned and operated by any number of individuals, corporations or interests, and are established under state laws.

Not only can they donate money to super PACs while obscuring the identity or identities of the donors behind them, they can also spend directly to influence elections. A recently formed conservative group that churns out ads attacking Democrats, America Rising, organized as an LLC rather than a political committee, and CQ Roll Call reported that conservatives‚ increasingly frustrated with the Internal Revenue Service handling of the tea party nonprofit applications, may turn to LLCs as an alternative to dark money groups like Crossroads GPS that do not disclose their donors.

The latest FEC filing from American Crossroads lists two donors, LMD Properties LLC and Boston Holding Company LLC, which gave $50,000 and $100,000 contributions, respectively. Neither company has a website and neither is listed at the addresses they provided American Crossroads.

LMD Properties is listed in the PAC filing as being based in Greensboro, N.C. Its property tax filings with the Guildford County Tax Department in North Carolina indicate the company’s current mailing address is shared by New Breed Corp., which, according to its website, specializes in “solutions and infrastructure for supply chain transformation.”

A North Carolina Secretary of State filing lists Louis DeJoy as the company's manager. DeJoy is also chairman and CEO of New Breed. Since 2009, he's contributed $175,300 to Republican committees, and his wife, Aldona Zofia Wos, is a Republican fundraiser and served as ambassador to Estonia for President George W. Bush.

Though LMD Properties formed in 1998, a search of contributions from Influence Explorer’s bulk data shows this is the first year the company has donated to a federal committee.

The second company in American Crossroads’ filings, Boston Holding Company, LLC, shares an address with Boston Asset Management Inc. in Clearwater, Fla. That firm manages wealth for individuals and institutions; it also advertises its services to athletes. The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations website indicates the company was registered by Jonathan Golden, but lists Leo J. Govoni as an “authorized person.”

In December 2013, Govoni entered Florida’s 2014 general election for state representative in District 69. He bowed out of the race on March 3rd of this year, but before doing so, he raised more than $73,000 according to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections.

Both Golden and Govoni have ties to the Boston Finance Group, a private equity company that current U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., joined in 2012 as vice president. Sunlight’s Influence Explorer shows Govoni and Golden both donated to Jolly’s campaign. The Tampa Bay Times found Govoni and Jolly also have multiple business, however, Govoni claims it did not influence his run for office.

As of this posting, neither Boston Asset Management Inc. nor New Breed Corp. have returned calls requesting more information about their affiliation with the LLCs.

In 2011, NBC News reported on a $1 million contribution to Restore Our Future super PAC, which backed Mitt Romney in the GOP primaries and the general election, from W Spann LLC that dissolved within a month after making the donation. Ed Conard, who had previously been employed at Bain Capital, the asset management firm Mitt Romney co-founded, eventually identified himself as the donor behind the LLC.

Other limited liability corporations also tested the waters. In 2012, Sunlight reported on three companies — all linked to one man, Robert T. Brockman — that collectively donated $1 million to Restore Our Future. When the New York Times investigated another such donor, Glenbrook LLC, which contributed $250,000 to Restore our Future, it found a network of difficult-to-trace P.O. box addresses and could not identify the individuals behind it.

Apr 21, 2014

Keep reading for today's look at #OpenGov news, events and analysis including Bush II records, more fallout from the Moreland Commission in New York, and France joining the OGP.series-opengov-today

National News

  • George W. Bush moved to release many documents related to his presidency on a quicker timetable than his predecessor, according to a document recently uncovered via a FOIA request. (POLITICO)
  • A New York Hotel baron and notable Hillary Clinton bundler pled guilty last week to charges that he made more than $180,000 in illegal contributions over the past several election cycles. (POLITICO)

International News

  • Last week France, in a joint statement with Mexico, announced that it would be joining the Open Government Partnership. (E Pluribus Unum)
  • A look at how some of the most successful parliamentary monitoring and legislative information sites around the world have gained and held on to their audiences. (Opening Parliament)

State and Local News

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) received significant blowback from lawmakers after he tasked a state commission with looking into the outside jobs held by many state legislators. Cuomo recently shut the commission down, presumably putting an end to the inquiry. (New York Times)
  • Despite a new transparency portal, Transparent Idaho, the state got a failing grade in a recent report on how transparent state government's make their spending. (Government Technology)

Events This Week

Do you want to track transparency news? You can follow the progress of relevant bills on our Scout page. You can also get Today in #OpenGov sent directly to your preferred news reader!