Sunlight Labs Needs Your Help to Keep the Fires Burning

The Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to government openness, is asking for help in keeping its Sunlight Labs API up and running. To get a generous match from a major donor they need to attract 1,500 new supporters by years end. The Sunlight Labs API is one of the gold standards of open government data. To meet their goal they need just 200 new supporters to go to the fundraising site and donate any amount.

A non-partisan organization focused on transparency, the Sunlight Foundation was one of the forerunners of open government. They describe themselves on their website as a "DC based organization focused on digitization of government data and making tools and websites to make it easily accessible." Sunlight labs is an open source community that develops APIs and tools like its U.S. congress Android app.

The Sunlight Labs API is a REStful database service that contains a wealth of information about U.S. Congressional members. In addition to basic information like congressional email addresses and phone numbers, the API supports geolocation to cities, zip codes and latitude/longitude. The Sunlight Labs API was among those featured in the 2009 Apps for America Contest.


The API has inspired some great civic mashups that can be found in our mashup directory. Filibusted (shown above) tracks the frequency at which senators try to stall legislation through filibustering. Do you want to see all of the online activity of legislators' YouTube and Twitter accounts? Look to Legistalker. If your congressman isn't on twitter yet you can lobby them to get connected with TweetCongress.

If you or your organization uses this API in an app or mashup certainly consider lending a hand and donating. If you don't use the API but just want to support the existence of this awesome Resource that's ok too! Just hurry because there are only two weeks left!

Be sure to read the next Government article: Setting Government Data Free with ScraperWiki