Sunlight Foundation: Municipal Lobbying Data Guidebook

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 5, 2013

Sunlight Foundation – Municipal Lobbying Data Guidebook

  • “Why do we need access to lobbying data? Information that is critical to understanding access to power and how that access is being used should be made available to the public with as few restrictions as possible. That means making information available in searchable, sortable and machine-readable format, but also taking into consideration the kinds of information that should be disclosed (the difference between lobbying registration, say, and lobbying activity). For lobbying disclosure to live up to its full potential, the transparency it creates needs to be proportional to the influence that it seeks to influence, with real-time reporting and substantive disclosure empowering public scrutiny of political power at work. The goal of disclosing this data isn’t to make life more difficult for the lobbyists, but to ensure that citizens have the ability to track influence — to glean the context critical to understanding political decision-making and legislation. Meaningful, complete, open lobbying data is vital to creating accountable government. As the state of municipal lobbying data collection and disclosure varies enormously from one city or county to the next, the Sunlight Foundation has created this guide to help local policymakers and advocates create stronger lobbying disclosure.”
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