Is the Sunlight Foundation going under? - Technical.ly DC

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Sep. 20, 2016 4:16 pm

Is the Sunlight Foundation going under?

Board chairman Mike Klein wrote a somewhat confusingly-worded post about the future of the organization on Tuesday afternoon.

Open data isn't enough by itself.

(Photo via Twitter)

The Sunlight Foundation, D.C.’s nonprofit advocate for government transparency, announced Tuesday afternoon that it will be shutting down. Well, sort of.

In a somewhat confusingly-worded blog post, board chairman  walked readers through the Foundation’s lengthy quest to find a new executive director (a quest that was ultimately unsuccessful) before announcing that the organization has decided to “explore alliances with other organizations similarly motivated, perhaps merging with one of them, in an arrangement that advances and preserves Sunlight’s mission and identity with increased efficiency and effectiveness.”

Why?

“We are aware that the robust maturation of technology over the past decade has — happily but substantially — reduced the urgency of Sunlight’s early role as a leading transparency innovator,” Klein writes. “In addition, the board had to recognize that Sunlight’s initiating objective — to build support for better legislation against and regulation of the power of money in politics — has been significantly limited by the US Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision.”

And while a potential merger doesn’t exactly sound like an ending, a following passage announcing that the Foundation will “discontinue our tool building and database maintenance activities” certainly does.

The open government and journalism community quickly responded on Twitter:

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So what’s next for the Sunlight Foundation? We can’t help but agree with this sentiment:

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