Participatory Politics Foundation

(Redirected from OpenCongress)

The Participatory Politics Foundation (PPF)[1] is a United States non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve U.S. democracy. It works to increase public participation by, among other means, modernizing the political system through technological advancements that help connect lawmakers and citizens. The non-profit opened in February 2007.

The foundation has created free, open-source websites such as, GovTrack, Councilmatic, and These civic platforms are made specifically for public use to increase online activism.[2]

David Moore, former executive director of Participatory Politics Foundation

Mission statement edit

The mission of PPF is that the U.S. keeps a fully representative democracy. To accomplish this, they state four points that speak for the foundation and its objectives.[3]

1: A fully open government data.

2: Civic engagement initiatives for broad-based public participation.

3: Collaboration with outside partners in government innovation.

4: Advocating for full public financing of elections and comprehensive electoral reforms.

David Moore edit

David Moore was the executive director of both the Participatory Politics Foundation and their sister organization, Participatory Culture Foundation from 2007 to 2017.[4] He also served as the program manager for from 2007, until its closing in 2016.[3] After working as an executive director at PPF, Moore stepped down from the position and co-founded Sludge in 2018.

Sludge (news) edit

Founded in 2018, Sludge describes itself as an independent, nonprofit news outlet that produces investigative journalism on lobbying and money in politics.[5] As the current project for the Participatory Politics Foundation, it touted a number of successes during its first year.[6] The two-person newsroom became a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) in 2020.[7][8]

Past Projects and Partnerships edit

Sunlight Foundation edit

The Sunlight Foundation, a funder and partner of PPF, ran from 2006-2020 with the main goal using the internet and technology to connect citizens of the US to Congress and the federal government.[9] The foundation was a government transparency advocacy group pushing for policies that optimize civic engagement.[10] This foundation was heavily funded through donations, which enabled it to collaborate with PPF to create[11] PPF was given a $737,300 donation by the Sunlight Foundation.[10]

A criticism the foundation has faced was its claim of being a non-partisan. The organization has been viewed as left leaning due to its original director, Zephyr Teachout, becoming a Democratic politician. Additionally, the companies primary funder, Bloomberg Philanthropies, is known for its left-of-center political views.[10] edit was a non-profit, non-partisan public resource where citizens interaction with the government was completed through the companies webpage. It was released in 2007 and founded by both the Participatory Politics Foundation[1] and the Sunlight Foundation. Users could contact members of Congress via the internet by sending an email to congressional members through a page on the website, and were able to gain access to both real-time news and government data.[12] After, the users could share it with the community and their social media pages to interact with the public.[13]

Across a span of eight years, the website had 29 million visits and 70 million page visits in addition to its 200,000 registered users.[14] In March 2016, OpenCongress officially closed its doors and merged into a new website called GovTrack.[15] OpenCongress no longer has an up and running website. edit was another later project developed by PPF and launched in February 2014. It was a "free, open-source, non-profit, non-partisan platform where the public could interact with public figures".[16] The website had a question-and-answer page where users could have their questions answered by. These people included members of government and candidates in every state and congressional district, along with any verified Twitter account. AskThem has access to over "142,000 elected officials, including all 100 state governors, 432 state representatives and over 1,400 state legislatures nationwide".[16]

AskThem worked as follows:

  • "Anyone can ask a question to any elected official or verified Twitter account."[16]
  • "People sign-on to questions they support, voting them up and circulating them like online petitions."[16]
  • "When a question reaches a pre-set threshold, AskThem delivers it to the recipient and encourages a public response."[16]

In June 2018, David Moore posted on the Participatory Politics Foundation blog that's website would be disabled until further notice. Moore asked for volunteers to redesign the website with the intent increase "public accountability."[17]

Councilmatic (2015-2017) edit

Created by both the Participatory Politics Foundation and a civic tech company DataMade,[18] Councilmatic[19] is a website that provides its users up to date with information about their city council. Currently, Councilmatic is relaying government information from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia. It is an open-data community resource that can publish data from city-legislations, elected officials, committees and more. The organization says the program works with PFF to close the feedback loop with local elected officials.[20]

GovTrack edit

Created in 2004 and eventually taking over, GovTrack[21] was yet another non-partisan website for the public to obtain legislative information that encouraged engagement with the government.[22] To aid participation in government, GovTrack pursues new developments on issues that its users find important, and publishes them for the public to use. This is all free, so the information can be viewed or shared by anyone with internet access. Additionally, the company tracks bills and collects information on Congressional members. To ensure the company is non-partisan, they do not accept grants from partisan organizations, and have "no financers, sponsors, investors or partners with a political party or government agency".[22]

Comparable sites to OpenCongress and GovTrack are,[23], and Councilmatic,[19] which all have the same goal of connecting local residents to state-level officials to express their opinions.[14]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Moore, David. "Participatory Politics Foundation". Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  2. ^ "F6S". F6S. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  3. ^ a b "About PPF | Participatory Politics Foundation". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  4. ^ "About "David Russell Moore". Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  5. ^ "About Sludge". Sludge. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  6. ^ "Impacts of Sludge's Reporting (So Far)". Sludge. 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  7. ^ "Sludge's First NewsMatch Is On". Sludge. 2020-11-01. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  8. ^ "Sludge". Find Your News. 2021-10-04. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  9. ^ Washington, 1440 G. Street NW; Skype, DC 20005 202-742-1520 Call with. "About Us". Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved 2019-10-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ a b c "Sunlight Foundation". Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  11. ^ "Maximize Opportunity. Minimize Injustice". Arnold Foundation. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  12. ^ "Our Projects | Participatory Politics Foundation". Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  13. ^ Washington, 1440 G. Street NW; Skype, DC 20005 202-742-1520 Call with (2011-08-15). "Contact your Member of Congress with better self organizing tools". Sunlight Foundation. Retrieved 2019-10-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ a b "Participatory Politics Foundation - Tech Nonprofit". Fast Forward. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  15. ^ "OpenCongress (@OpenCongress) | Twitter". Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  16. ^ a b c d e Moore, David. " launches today – questions-and-answers with public figures | Participatory Politics Foundation". Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  17. ^ Moore, David. "AskThem Is Being Redesigned | Participatory Politics Foundation". Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  18. ^ DataMade. "Tell your story through data". Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  19. ^ a b Councilmatic. "Councilmatic - Your local city council, demystified". Councilmatic. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  20. ^ Moore, David. "Bring Councilmatic To Your City | Participatory Politics Foundation". Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  21. ^ "". Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  22. ^ a b " - About". Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  23. ^ "Home Page". Open the Government. Retrieved 2019-10-30.

External links edit