The Open Senate Project was launched today. This is a follow-up to the
Open House Project, still a Sunlight Foundation project; this time I'm
co-coordinating so you may see me being a bit more pro-active in getting
all of your feedback on things over the next few months.
The goal of OSP is, in my eyes, to document the state of affairs for the
Senate's use of technology and to put forward attainable goals for
better uses of technology in the public's interest, for transparency,
oversight, civic participation, etc.
I personally would like to see OSP take a more research-oriented
approach to documenting the state of affairs, and I may need some help,
if anyone is willing, to do some basic research on what the Senate does
now with respect to technology.
If you have thoughts or want to get involved in civic technology at a
policy level, join the OSP mail list (which is the same as the OHP mail
list)! See below!
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [openhouseproject] Open Senate Project Launches
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 11:51:13 -0400
From: John Wonderlich <johnwonderlich@...
Sunlight has just sent out the following press release
announcing the launch of the Open Senate Project
As Ellen blogged this morning, we're delighted to have Majority Leader
Reid's endorsement of the effort, so we can apply the same public
discussion and analysis to Senate reform priorities as we've applied to
the House <http://www.theopenhouseproject.com/
We have created a separate blog site to track discussion and
developments, and to collect resources, but we'll be using the same
google group <http://groups.google.com/group/openhouseproject
Senate discussion, since duplicating the collection of people following
this list would be impossible, and much of the discussion here already
applies to both chambers (and often the executive).
I'm also happy to announce that Jon Henke and Josh Tauberer have agreed
to help coordinate the discussion and preparation of the recommendations
report; the effort will certainly benefit from the expertise they can offer.
Finally, I'd like to offer my gratitude to everyone for contributing and
following along as we work our way through Congress's public face --
this project's strength comes from the (sometimes heated) dialog and
debate on this list. This email list is all the evidence we need that
public interaction can bring substance and weight to even the most
obscure or administrative of policy issues, and that a shared stake in
policy outcomes can coalesce disparate communities into something forceful.
Thanks also to Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has acknowledged the
value of public dialog by taking a proactive step in welcoming a
conversation outside the comfortable boundaries of political party, the
institutions of Congress, and the world of familiar advisers and trusted
staff. Even though nothing in the report is binding in any way, Reid's
embrace of such an open forum will help encourage technological
advances, and demonstrate how even a traditional and collegial
institution such as the US Senate can take advantage of new communities
I'm looking forward to working with Senate leaders and staff from both
parties, and kicking off the conversation soon about what the Senate
might do differently.
The Sunlight Foundation Launches Open Senate Project with Majority
Leader Reid's Endorsement
/Collaborative Effort Will Advocate for Transparency in Senate/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2008
Contact: Gabriela Schneider 202/742-1520
WASHINGTON, DC – As part of its efforts to work with Congress on how to
make itself more open in the Internet age, the Sunlight Foundation is
launching The Open Senate Project <http://theopensenateproject.com/
This bipartisan, collaborative initiative will study the Senate's
current information-sharing practices to recommend how to improve public
access to the Senate's work on the Web.
This project is modeled off of Sunlight's parallel initiative, the Open
House Project <http://theopenhouseproject.com/
>. Founded in 2007, the
Open House Project catalyzed public discussion of congressional
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has endorsed Sunlight's Open Senate
Project. "I welcome ideas for how the U.S. Senate can use technology and
the Internet to create more transparency for the operations of the U.S.
Senate, and to bring us closer to our constituents," said Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid, in response to the project's launch. "To
that end, I look forward to the recommendations from the Open Senate
Project, which will be an open, public collaborative effort."
Through an email list and blog, open government leaders from inside and
outside Congress and citizens alike will develop recommendations for
attainable technological reforms. John Wonderlich, program director for
the Sunlight Foundation, will lead the effort in collaboration with
project coordinators Josh Tauberer, creator of the nonpartisan Web site
>, and Jon Henke, a former Senate
staffer who now blogs at TheNextRight.com <http://thenextright.com/
Sunlight encourages citizens to give their input by joining the group's
email list <http://groups.google.com/group/openhouseproject
"We are excited that Senate leaders have recognized the importance of
public oversight and evaluation of their online transparency, and we
look forward to working with them," said John Wonderlich. "This
initiative will give more citizens a voice to advocate for
straightforward reforms to strengthen digital access to the work of the
The Open House Project was successful in jump-starting a public
discussion that resulted in improvements in the methods that the House
of Representatives uses to make its work available online, including
releasing legislative data in more user-friendly formats and
establishing new rules that allow lawmakers to use Web services like
YouTube and Twitter to communicate with their constituents. A full
review of the project's progress is available here
The Open Senate Project will present its recommendations to Senate
leaders in the spring of 2009.
/The Sunlight Foundation supports, develops and deploys new Internet
technologies to make information about Congress and the federal
government more accessible to the American people. Through its projects
and grant-making, Sunlight serves as a catalyst to create greater
political transparency and to foster more openness and accountability in
government. Visit SunlightFoundation.com
> to learn more about Sunlight's
projects, including PublicMarkup.org <http://publicmarkup.org/
> and OpenCongress.org