Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sunlight Foundation -- Grade on Harman's Website Adjusted

The organization did an update to their study and -- it's not that surprising I guess -- they acknowledged this error and some other corrections in an open and transparent way.
Some other members also went from fail to pass: Rep. Jane Harman is the most embarrassing one--the initial release had her as an 8, and a very cursory review of the site shows that it wasn't the design that caused the problem. We missed that one.
Owning up to mistakes in a forthright and honest way is not easy - it's easy to minimize them. It's great to see them lead by example.

Jane Harman's site now just meets the passing score(40%) because it provides all the types of information on her official business that they survey for. In my post, I neglected to point out her website also links to her statements entered into the congressional record, but the Sunlight folks caught that one when they looked at it again.

On the other criteria, her site gets all zeroes. This needs to change.

The first step should be listing the earmarks she sponsors and providing info on her interventions with or correspondence to regulatory agencies. That would be pretty easy to do. Then providing a public calendar with the her schedule, including attendees and subjects of meetings -- that should come next. We elected her to represent us, so we deserve to know how she's spending her official on-the-clock time.


Anonymous Bill Allison said...

It wasn't particularly difficult to admit the mistake. I've alsways felt it's much worse to compound insist that your screw up is the Gospel truth, or to further muddy the waters by falsely blaming someone else. Much better to use your energies trying to get the accurate information out.

Oh, and FYI--we're launching a project that might help with those regulatory interventions that Harman (and every other member) makes. We're trying to pry loose from all executive branch agencies, via FOIA, their correspondence logs. The logs tell you who sent the letter, who got it, when it was sent, what the subject of the letter was, and whether the agency responded. We're just getting started (though we did just get EPAs logs) but you can read about the effort here. As soon as we figure out a database architecture, we're going to start posting these online. You'll be able to search it by member, by agency, or look for all the members who wrote on behalf of, say, Lockheed Martin (the #1 government contractor), starting in January 2007.

2:32 PM  
Blogger PeterB said...

I'm glad to hear you'll be going after the regulatory board intervention documentation directly via FOIA. Disclosure should help put a stop to some of the most egegious activity, no doubt. Also, if the information is going to be accessible to the public via the Sunlight Foundation in any case, I imagine a lot of congress folk will figure they might as well provide it through their websites as well and at least get a little good PR for it.

12:03 AM  

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