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Sunshine Week Website Audit

In honor of Sunshine Week, Citizen Watchdog is asking citizens to join a nation-wide audit of local government websites. Go to watchdogwire.com for more information.

Can you access budgets on your county website, or find contact information for all public officials? Are meeting minutes available? Is there a database of all public spending?

It's surprisingly easy to audit your city or county website - here's how you get started:

1. Log on to your local government's website and start clicking around. (You should be able to find it easily by Googling the name of your city or county).

2. Not sure what to look for? There is a rubric on the website to help you determine what information should be readily available.

3. Write down your observations about how user-friendly or transparent the website is for everyday citizens. Frame your thoughts in the style of a blog post and it could be featured on Watchdog Wire. Send your article to Info@WatchdogWire.com.

4. Not a writer? Fill out a web form about your city website and send the information to watchdog wire.

5. Watchdog Wire staff will send the feedback to your local government on YOUR behalf.

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Tweet It Up!
More Sunshine Week goodness: A Tweet-Up with Open Secrets on Wednesday from noon until 1 p.m.

How much power does the lobbying industry have over American politics and, more specifically, our politicians? Do we need comprehensive election finance reform? Can we fight back against these moneyed special interests? This will be discussed during a Sunshine Week tweet-up with Open Secrets.

Launched in the 1980s, the Center for Responsive Politics aims to create a more educated voter, a more involved citizenry, and a more responsive government through their website www.OpenSecrets.org, where they track all political donations and lobbying activity. Join the group as they tweet up with executive director Sheila Krumholz, an old college friend of Steve Rhodes!

WHEN: Wednesday, 12 -1 p.m. ET

WHERE: Twitter.com or your Twitter app, using the hashtag #WDWTU

WHO: You, @OpenSecretsDC, and @WatchdogWire

WHAT: A conversation about the lobbying industry, election finance, and overall government accountability.

WHY: The power of special interests is of growing concern to many Americans, as many believe it undermines the democratic process. Open Secrets aims to track and reveal the faces funding our elected representatives, holding these public servants accountable to the American people.

Now to the HOW part . . . During a tweet-up, an organization or a person (in this case, @WatchdogWire) promotes a specific Twitter hashtag (ours will be #WDWTU for "Watchdog Wire tweet-up"), and schedules a time to meet on Twitter.

Typically, there is a moderator and a guest who engage in a Q&A session for everyone to see. You can simply observe the conversation or choose to join in and ask a question. Think of this as a virtual town hall with Open Secrets.

Make sure you include #WDWTU in each of your tweets during the conversation so that all will see them. You may want to follow them at @WatchdogWire and your fellow watchdogs tweeting with #WDWTU. Use this as an opportunity to grow your network with like-minded individuals.

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Beachwood Bulletin!
Don't stop there: Let's Fix FOIA!

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on March 17, 2014


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