FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
November 16, 2015
Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, email@example.com
Progress Michigan Launches ‘Sunshine Squad’ Website and Campaign
New accountability and vote tracking tool will help shine light on legislature
LANSING — On the heels of a recent report showing Michigan sitting dead last in the United States when it comes to ethics and transparency laws, as well as numerous problems with cronyism and secrecy from some of the state’s elected officials, Progress Michigan today launched a new website as part of a broader “Sunshine Squad” campaign that aims to make the Michigan legislature more accountable.
“Our elected officials in the legislature have gotten away with shielding themselves from public scrutiny for too long. This campaign will shine some light on their actions and who is putting money into their campaign coffers,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “The Sunshine Squad’s goal is to promote transparency, increase public disclosure and to hold our state lawmakers accountable. The launch of the website today is only the beginning.”
The website, www.sunshinesquad.progressmichigan.org, features every member of the Michigan legislature (apart from seats that have yet to be filled by upcoming special elections) broken down by committee assignment and House or Senate district. Each legislator-specific page currently features committee assignments and searchable financial contributions so residents can find where their legislator’s financial support is coming from.
The financial disclosure information and related committee work continues the efforts that Progress Michigan began when the legislature was discussing auto no-fault insurance. In that situation, Progress Michigan documented how tens of thousands of dollars went to House and Senate members who voted lock step with the insurance industry that was trying to gut no-fault.
“Donation information and voting records, while public, can be difficult to find and track at times, so this website will be a one-stop resource for the public to hold their elected officials to account,” Scott continued. “Unlike some of the other voting sites out there, we hold no editorial sway over any of the information included on the website, we’re just putting out the facts and letting the public use it how they will. It’s important to see how money is influencing the voting tendencies of those in power. As the campaign moves forward, there will be additional elements added to the site and the information will be updated regularly.”
Financial information included on the site comes from the National Institute on Money in State Politics via FollowTheMoney.org and voting records are pulled directly from the House and Senate journals.