It’s Sunshine Week in America, when reporters, activists and plain old folks interested in good government highlight the necessity of free information and open government.
One group, Sunshine Review, is commemorating the occasion by grading the transparency offered by state and local government Web sites across the country. And for all the ethical issues the District government has had in the past year, its Web site rates pretty highly.
The grade is based on a review of whether the Web site offers various types of information, such as information on elected officials, budgets, contracts, audits and filing records requests. D.C. was marked down only for not having “information ... on lobbyists or Taxpayer-funded lobbying.” (Lobbying disclosure reports are available, however, on the Office of Campaign Finance site.)
That said, government sunshine is about a lot more than a good Web site — though Internet posting helps tremendously. For instance, the easy availability of campaign finance and government spending records has made it much easier for us reporters to look at “pay-to-play” issues now squarely in the public eye.
For a more nuanced look at District government transparency, you might consider attending an “Open Government Summit” Tuesday evening at the National Press Club, hosted by the D.C. Open Government Coalition and the Press Club’s Freedom of the Press Committee.