Mashup Congress, Win Money

John Musser, February 27th, 2007

Sunlight LabsSome of the most interesting mashup possibilities surround government and politics, so it’s great to see the Sunlight Foundation yesterday announced the Mashup Congress Contest:

The Sunlight Foundation is celebrating Sunshine Week with a $2,000 prize for the best “Web 2.0 Mashup” about Congress. The contest deadline is March 17.

Contest judges are digital technology pioneer Esther Dyson, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

Entries will be judged on both creativity and how well they share information about Congress. New productions are encouraged, but any mashup created in the past six months is eligible.

What is the Sunlight Foundation? A noteworthy nonprofit founded last year with the goal of “using the Internet and new information technology to enable citizens to learn more about what Congress and their elected representatives are doing, and thus help reduce corruption, ensure greater transparency and accountability by government, and foster public trust in the vital institutions of democracy. We are unique in that technology and the power of the Internet are at the core of every one of our efforts…based on the premise that the collective power of citizens to demand greater accountability is the clearest route to reform.” The foundation’s name is taken from Justice Louis Brandeis’ quote “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

They’ve already had an impact with projects such as OpenCongress and Congresspedia.

Besides having an API of their own, the Sunlight Foundation also assists organizations in making data available by creating their own APIs. One such example is the very well designed and useful Follow The Money API from the Institute on Money in State Politics (see our earlier coverage on this).

And, over at Sunlight Labs they demonstrate some innovative uses of the governmental data they help expose. For example, two of their applications were just added to our mashup listings including the Earmarks map which helps you answer the question “Is the $1/2 billion dollars in 1753 earmarks on a single appropriations bill reaching your community?”

Earmark Map

Tags: Contests, Gov
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4 Responses to “Mashup Congress, Win Money”

March 2nd, 2007
at 2:34 am
Comment by: » Blog Archive » 3 New Government APIs

[...] In the past two weeks 3 new APIs tagged with “government” have been added to our listings. As noted earlier this week in Mashup Congress, Win Money, as more government provided and politically-related data is made available via APIs, the mashup opportunities are bound to increase. As of now, 6 APIs here are tagged government. [...]

April 9th, 2007
at 6:07 pm
Comment by: » Blog Archive »

[...] [...]

May 18th, 2007
at 12:03 am
Comment by: » Blog Archive » Congress Exposed via Sunlight Contest

[...] Foundation announced the winners of their Mashup Congress contest. See our earlier coverage Mashup Congress, Win Money for some background. The judges included Esther Dyson, Craig Newmark, and Jimmy Wales. In the end [...]

October 6th, 2008
at 2:05 am
Comment by: Visualize Political Contributions by Industry

[...] is to help others use the Internet to make information about the US government more accessible (and we’ve covered previously), recently released a very enlightening visualization of campaign contributions from 1990-2008, [...]

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John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.