After coming across Ethan Zuckerman’s blog post about tools for open government I felt inspired to find more examples of open governance and document them for later review of how similar can be implemented here in Bermuda.
TheyWorkForYou, a non-partisan website run by a charity which aims to make it easy for people in the UK to keep tabs on their elected and unelected representatives in Parliament, and other assemblies. You can view data such as voting records, details tracking their communications, interests, expenses and more. (note: Source Code to the website is available)
Police Act Review Wiki – The New Zealand government launched a collaboration website to solicit feedback on a proposed police act.
OpenCongress.org brings together official US government data with news and blog coverage to give you the real story behind each bill. It brings together information on the status of US federal legislation, voting records and other congressional data from official sources and turns it into a free information resource for everyday citizens.
USASpending.gov is a site built to implement The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act) which requires a single searchable website, accessible by the public for free that provides detailed information about federal spending. (also take a look at fedspending.org)
OpenSecrets.org which tracks US campaign contributions according to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA)
TheCouch – A website in New Zealand created by The Families Commission to open up communications with families to hear their views and study how they can promote the interests of all families and promote a better understanding of family issues and needs amongst government agencies and the wider community.
PledgeBank – a website created for creating, tracking and sharing pledges.
Road Safety Discussion – An online discussion forum created by the New Zealand government to discuss how to improve road safety as well as gain feedback from road safety workshops.
GovernmentDocs.org gives the public an unprecedented level of access to US government documents by allowing users to browse, search, and review hundreds of thousands of pages acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other public disclosure, or “sunshine,” laws. (laws we were promised, but never received)
Punch Clock Campaign asks all candidates for congressional office – challengers and incumbents – to promise, if elected, to post their daily schedules on the Internet. Lawmakers who agree to share their schedules, including who they’ve met with and why, show that they are responsive, open, transparent and above all accountable, leading to greater public trust.
Earmark Watch brings citizen oversight into congressional spending by encouraging everyday citizens to research into who is receiving grant money tacked onto bills.
Congresspedia – a project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Media & Democracy – is an online wiki-based citizens’ encyclopedia on Congress hosted on the Center for Media & Democracy’s SourceWatch wiki. This resource includes individual pages for every member of Congress, as well as information on congressional committees, specific legislative topic areas, congressional rules and practices and individual bills. As a wiki, its content can be drafted and edited by anyone.
SourceWatch is a collaborative project to track people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda.
LOUIS (Library Of Unified Information Sources), an effort to illuminate the workings of the US federal government with the ultimate goal being to create a comprehensive, completely indexed and cross-referenced depository of federal documents from the executive and legislative branches of government.
Contractor Misconduct Database – The government awards contracts to companies with histories of misconduct such as contract fraud and environmental, ethics, and labor violations. In the absence of a centralized federal database listing instances of misconduct, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is providing such data about the top 50 contractors.
The DOJ Documents search engine – a project created by users of Daily Kos – provides a search function for the massive number of e-mails released by the Department of Justice to the House Committee on the Judiciary in response to the recent firings of U.S. Attorneys. The e-mails, previously only available in a large PDF file, are presented in text format and are searchable by name. The user can also designate whether they want to see e-mails that are “From,” “To,” or “CC.”
The National Institute on Money in State Politics operates a searchable database of all campaign contributions to political campaigns at the state level. The database allows users to search for contributions to candidates for office at all levels of state government and for contributions spent on supporting and opposing ballot initiatives across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Institute has made available several APIs so programmers can access and display the Institute’s data in their own applications. (The National Institute on Money in State Politics is a Sunlight grantee.)
GovTrack.us centralizes information on the legislative process into a Web site Users can search through member of Congress profiles, bills, votes, and committee action. Users can also create their own Congress-tracker by subscribing to email updates or by creating RSS feeds to keep informed on the latest developments related to bills, issues, members of Congress and committees.
Legistorm provides two unique sets of congressional information. Their congressional staffer salary information can be searched or browsed, giving a revealing view into the working of member, committee, leadership, and administrative offices. Legistorm also presents congressional travel data, offering a robust search feature and rankings among members, staff, sponsors, and destination.
MAPLight.org provides a detailed analysis of legislation by tracking bills, the support and opposition bills garner from interest groups and the campaign contributions given by those interest groups to members of Congress and for the state of California. The site lets users tracks the day by day, vote by vote, impact of political contributions at the federal level. This analysis is based on databases available from the Center for Responsive Politics at www.opensecrets.org and from off
icial records of the Library of Congress via GovTrack.us. The resulting database of bills, voting records, and campaign contributions powers the search engine at MAPLight.org and enables people to see the links between dollars spent and votes cast in Congress. The site allows users to search by bill, interest group or by legislators, and also allows similar searches of the California legislature and state Senate. (MAPLight.org is a Sunlight grantee.)
Metavid is a project that captures, streams, archives and facilitates real-time collective remediation of federal legislative proceedings. Metavid opens up video source footage of House and Senate proceedings for permanent reusable online access, allowing citizens to remix, investigate, and track their representatives in a participant-driven open source archive. (Metavid is a Sunlight grantee.)
Open Hearings is a mini-site of schedules of current and future Senate committee hearings which includes links to live audio and video of hearings in progress. Users can subscribe to receive updates for all committees and hearings via RSS feed or iCalendar. The site also provides users the ability to import the “Live Hearing” view into a personalized Google homepage.
The Open Secrets Lobbying Database – a project of the Center for Responsive Politics – collects information from lobbyist disclosure forms and provides it the user in a number of searchable ways dating back to 1998. Among many options the user can search by client name, lobbyist name, bill ID number, lobbying firms, and issue area. The site allows the user to search through lobbying firms, top lobbying contracts, individual lobbyists, and the top lobbying industries. (The Center for Responsive Politics is a Sunlight grantee.)
The Open Secrets Personal Financial Disclosure Database – a project of the Center for Responsive Politics – has information from the personal financial disclosures filed by every member of Congress and every executive branch official since 2005 and presents it all in a searchable format. The user can search through member’s net worth, stock holdings, assets, and outside income. (The Center for Responsive Politics is a Sunlight grantee.)
The Open Secrets Revolving Door Database – a project of the Center for Responsive Politics – aggregates all information related to those leaving work on Capitol Hill to go to work on K Street and vice versa. The Center for Responsive Politics’ Revolving Door database tracks anyone whose résumé includes positions of influence in both the private and public sectors since 1998. Users can search for members of Congress and congressional staffers turned lobbyists by looking at the congressional offices and committees with the most people spinning through the revolving door. Top agencies, members, congressional committees, and organizations are all available search options. (The Center for Responsive Politics is a Sunlight grantee.)
The Open Secrets Travel Database – a project of the Center for Responsive Politics – a search engine of aggregated privately sponsored congressional travel information compiled from reports filed by members of Congress with the House Legislative Resource Center and Senate Office of Public Records since 2005. Users can search by member, staff, sponsor, country, city and industry to see who is funding their travel. The site also provides maps showing where each individual member of Congress and their staff have traveled. (The Center for Responsive Politics is a Sunlight grantee.)
Project Vote Smart provides detailed information – biographical information, campaign finances, interest groups ratings, issue positions, and public statements – on elected officials including the President, members of Congress, state officials and leadership in state legislatures.
Taxpayers for Common Sense provides reports on pork barrel projects and earmarks in Congress analyzing bills in real-time and providing databases of information. Its mission is to reduce wasteful government spending. (Taxpayers for Common Sense is a Sunlight grantee.)
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) is a giant collection of databases of information from various agencies of the federal government. TRAC contains reports and lists of links to data from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Immigration Customs Enforcement.
WashingtonWatch determines the average cost, or savings, per individual of each bill introduced in Congress by performing calculations on government estimates compared to the US population. The Web site provides users with pro and con arguments for each bill, allows comments on each bill, allows users to vote “yes” or “no” on the bills and provides a “write your rep” function. WashingtonWatch also provides a wiki that allows users to add content to each bill. (WashingtonWatch is a Sunlight grantee.)
The Center for Democracy and Technology works to promote democratic values and constitutional liberties in the digital age. With expertise in law, technology, and policy, CDT seeks practical solutions to enhance free expression and privacy in global communications technologies. CDT is dedicated to building consensus among all parties interested in the future of the Internet and other new communications media.