In a somewhat confusingly-worded blog post, board chairman Mike Klein 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.”
“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:
— Andrew Noyes (@anoyes) September 20, 2016
The Sunlight Foundation was such a beacon to me when I was starting my career. Such a shame. https://t.co/LNgX79Vd8t
— Travis Korte (@traviskorte) September 20, 2016
Anyone want to have an Irish wake for the Sunlight Foundation's database services? https://t.co/HyBg4izfvD
— Megan R. Wilson (@misswilson) September 20, 2016
Please someone ride to the Sunlight Foundation's rescue. They do amazing work.https://t.co/wvgje85A8y
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) September 20, 2016
So what’s next for the Sunlight Foundation? We can’t help but agree with this sentiment:
That Sunlight Foundation statement is sort of confusing. Someone needs to shine a light on Sunlight.
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) September 20, 2016