Sunlight Labs API: Mashup Your Local Congressman

2 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar
Sunlight Labs
Non-profit organizations that work to change policy on the local or state levels will revel in the latest news from the Sunlight Foundation.Organizations using the open source constituent relationship management tool, CiviCRM, can now better connect their constituents and members to their elected officials, thanks to recent integration work that ties US federal data directly into CiviCRM records via the Sunlight Labs API.Sunlight Labs API is a tool for developers that provides information about US members of Congress. It also enables users to look up key information about representatives from different online databases and for given zip codes or US states. The goal is give to developers more time to design a better interface to present useful information, rather than occupying them with the tedious task of managing clerical data. The SunLightLabs API allows CiviCRM developers to incorporate Congressional data directly into the CiviCRM interface and modules, which could allow a user to doing things like email all the people in the database within a particular district about upcoming events or quickly pull up information about their elected officials. This tool is sure to be a big boost to public policy directors and staff, as it will give them better and quicker access to more people about important legislative issues. It will also assist citizens in finding information and promoting grassroots initiatives -- increasingly critical factors in the electoral process, particularly when you consider the broad accessibility of the Web and the combinatorial powers of application mashups.The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit that works to integrate the Internet and new information technology to empower citizens to learn more about what Congress and their elected representatives are doing. The Foundation's use of CiviCRM means they, too benefit from this integration, and is a good indicator that the integration effort will continue to mature over time.The Sunlight Labs API integration is slated to be ready after the CiviCRM 2.0 release. The Sunlight Foundation welcomes those in the Washington, D.C. area who are interested in this new initiative to head on over to their Open House event being held on Tuesday, July 31st from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Sunlight Foundation's new office. The Open House will debut the launch of regular meet-ups to bring together advocates from the technology and policy communities to initiate discussion about Web 2.0 and government transparency.