Sunlight Foundation

About Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group

The Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group is part of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based organization that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable.

The Reporting Group applies the techniques of journalism to make government more transparent. We report on everything from congressional office disbursement reports to lists of individuals and entities who are banned from getting government contracts, from campaign finance records to the $787 billion Recovery Act. Our goals are to identify and describe little known and underused federal data sets, to assess the accuracy, completeness and usefulness of federal data, to demonstrate through our reporting how this data can be used effectively, and to help other reporters do the same. We offer training on core Sunlight-built and Sunlight-supported resources focused on showing reporters how to use federal data in local reporting. We are also experimenting with a real time, transparent reporting process: as we do our work, we document our research steps. From this process, we hope to develop templates and interactive training modules that reporters, bloggers and citizens can use.

Focus areas of the reporting group include:

  • Real Time Investigations: Follow our journalists as they test the limits of government transparency.
  • Foreign Lobbyist Influence Tracker: See how lobbyists representing foreign governments and government-controlled entities tried to influence federal policy in this database that lets you search the detailed disclosures required under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. The database, which were updating, currently covers filings made in 2008.
  • SubsidyScope: The Sunlight Foundation is the research and technology partner of The Pew Charitable Trusts on their site The sites growing library of data resources lets users explore the impact of federal subsidies on the economy.
  • Political Party Time: Party Time is a unique resource that digitizes information from invitations to mostly Washington, D.C., fundraisers for congressional campaigns and political committees. Party Time can serve as an early warning system for those following politics or money in politics.

The Sunlight Foundation is:

  • A think-tank that develops and encourages new policies inside the government to be more transparent and accountable
  • A campaign to engage citizens to change government's transparency policies
  • An investigative organization that uses the data and applications to demonstrate why we need those policies
  • A grant giving institution that gives grants 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

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