Craigslist's founder is stumping the country for a more responsive and transparent government that puts everything the government does online. He's not just talking either, putting his support behind a variety of sites that track legislation, members of Congress, their staff, federal spending and lobbyists. If only the U.S. Senate would cooperate.
WASHINGTON-Craig Newmark is
getting political, even though the Craigslist founder readily admits,
"Most people don't want to be bothered by politics, including
myself." Nevertheless, Newmark is banging the drum for Barack Obama and
urging young voters to register to vote.
"We need them to bail out our collective baby boomer butts," the
55-year-old Newmark said at an Oct. 3 appearance at Google's Washington
headquarters. "I really need the kids to come out and vote. Also, I need
them to get off my lawn, but that's another issue."
Newmark followed his Google appearance with a National Press Club gig, again
calling for the "kids" to lead a "network grassroots
democracy" that will drive elected officials to be more responsive and
transparent through the Internet.
"Everything the government does should be online," Newmark said.
"It would be great if everyone could figure out the connection between
money and politics."
Obama trounces McCain ... in spam campaign. Read more here.
Newmark is doing his best to make that happen, joining the board of the
Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2006 with the idea that citizens
can be their own congressional watchdogs. Since its founding, Sunlight has
. The sites make information
available online about members of Congress, their staff, legislation, federal
spending and lobbyists.
Another favorite site of Newmark's is FactCheck.org
a project of the Annenberg Public
of the University of Pennsylvania.
Accepting no funding from business corporations, labor unions, political
parties, lobbying organizations or individuals, FactCheck.org endeavors to
monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S.
politicians in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. The
site has already posted a fact check about the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate
between U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"This is a chance for technology and human passion to get serious about
participatory democracy, to get directly involved," Newmark said.
"This election is the beginning of a transition from top-down power to
bottom-up power. It is unstoppable regardless of who wins, sort of an