I'm a very minor part of the Sunlight Foundation, which encourages lawmakers to get real about creating a more open, accountable Congress. For context, check out The Transparency Caucus: big step toward fixing Washington.
- Post public ethics filings online. These documents — which include personal financial disclosures, travel reports and recusals, as well as congressional ethics reports — should be made available free to the public and digitized in a structured data format.
- Strengthen congressional ethics. The Office of Congressional Ethics annual budget should be doubled, and its written reports to the public should be posted online. Additionally, all House Ethics Committee meetings should be open to the public unless it pertains to specific allegations against an individual lawmaker.
- Post bills online for 72 hours. The House has routinely followed the 72-hour rule, but it should be required for all non-emergency legislation and Conference Reports.
- Create an Earmarks Database. All earmarks, earmark requests and related documentation should be posted online in a centralized database.
- Open Congressional Committees. The following committee information should be posted online: vote records in XML files; official transcripts within 21 days of a hearing and unofficial transcripts within 24 hours; advance notice of hearing schedules; and streaming video of all committee meetings, among others.