"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants"
by Louis Brandeis, Harper's Weekly 1913
Published today at the Sunlight Foundation, our editorial:
Last week, our organization, American Transparency added 4.643 million California records to our online database. If you visit OpenTheBooks.com, you'll find the top 14,647 "highly compensated" public employees cost taxpayers nearly $5 billion per year in payroll, benefits and pension.
While there have been improvements in transparency, our California experience has been much too difficult. We detail some problems:
- The California Controller produced 4 million public salary records- with employee names redacted.
- Some local California governments want to charge us up to $29,803 just to produce salary records.
- Public salary requests were rejected by some citing a "privacy" or "work burden" exemption.
Unfortunately, our California experience is not unique. For example, the federal government rejected our request for the pensions calling it, "a clear unwarranted invasion of privacy."
Read our "Sunlight" editorial here.
To resist transparency, governments across the country are trying to widen the "exceptions" to open records. Currently, in Illinois, the Comptroller is trying to widen the "undue burden" exception. So, we sued and have successfully procured a HALF TRILLION dollars in state spending ('05-'13).
Justice Louis Brandeis in 1913 recognized the duty of citizen oversight. Today, at the Sunlight Foundation, we participate in that grand American tradition of holding the political class accountable.
Please help us expand citizen access to better data and upgrade our technologies to swiftly deliver that data to the American people. Please invest $25, $50, $100, $250, $500 or more in our work today.
American Transparency | Chairman
P.S. Together, let's post online "every dime" taxed & spent across America. Please make a tax deductible gift of $25, $50, $100, $250 or $500 today.