To-Do: Ask Congress for Transparency
Do you appreciate this website? Like to find out what Congress is doing in our weekly email newsletter?
Would you like better information about Congress than you’re getting now? We’d certainly like to provide better to you.
But we need better information from Congress, and it’s up to you to make that happen. We need you to ask Congress to be more transparent.
This Friday morning (9/23/2011), yours truly will be speaking at a Capitol Hill briefing entitled: “Publication Practices for Transparent Government: Rating the Congress.” We’ll be releasing a paper on how government should publish data for transparency; a “model” of the legislative process as data; and a report card reflecting Congress’ current transparency record. (Disclosure: The event and the paper are both produced by my day-job employer, the Cato Institute. Cato and WashingtonWatch.com are not affiliated.)
This event, and transparency generally, are only important if your representatives in Congress think it’s important. And your representatives in Congress will only think it’s important if you tell them it’s important.
So here’s what you need to do:
1. Contact your member of Congress. (Find your representative in the House here, including phone numbers and links to their home pages. A list of senators is here.) You can submit an email, of course, but you’ll be taken more seriously if you call.
2. Ask for the staff member who works on government transparency. (They might have to figure out who that is.) Write down that person’s name—you’re going to talk to him or her again in the future.
3. Tell the person you speak with that you would like the Congress to be more transparent and that you would like him or her to attend or monitor the Cato Institute’s transparency event. (Again, info here. Plans are to stream it over the Internet, and you can watch too, at 9:00 am Eastern.) Ask to learn what your representatives’ plans are for making Congress more transparent, and that you would like a letter or a call describing and explaining those plans.
4. When you’ve contacted your representative and both your senators, take one more moment to send this blog post to friends and colleagues who might be interested in having a more transparent federal government.
We’ll let you know how it goes!—here on the blog, and also on the “We Want a Transparent and Orderly Congress” petition page.
If you do your part, we’ll get the attendance and interest we need. And ultimately you’ll get the information you need to keep watch over Washington, D.C.