Foundation Promotes Accountability in Congress

Sunlight_logo The most recent issue of Philanthropy News Digest features yet another example of how philanthropists are innovating to fight the forces of evil, in this case nepotism on the people's dime.   

According to the press release from the Sunlight Foundation, their new 'distributed reporting project' will enable citizen journalists to investigate and record their research on members of the House of Representatives:

Using a simple, easy-to-use tool developed by Sunlight Labs (http://www.sunlightlabs.c...), citizen journalists can identify spouses of members of Congress, search campaign expenditures to see if they're on political payrolls, record the information, and see it tabulated in a running total. The Sunlight Foundation will verify all information with the campaigns themselves.

Some high profile members who've had family members on their campaign payroll in the past include former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas; Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif.; and Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif. Now citizen journalists can participate in a House-wide research project to identify all members who engage in the practice.

Aside from the 'distributed reporting' angle (whatever that means) and the technology that enables  new sorts of citizen journalism, this project illuminates what appears to be a growing trend in philanthropy.  Philanthropy is no longer divorced from the political sphere.  Few foundations entered these waters before now.  More are entering in recognition that the three components of our society must work together to achieve the greater good. 

Susan Herr

Posted at 5:11 PM, Oct 24, 2006 in Accountability | Permalink | Comment