Congressional watchdog site launched

Stanford University law professor Larry Lessig and campaign worker Joe Trippi have launched a community-activist Web site that they hope will reduce lobbyists' influence on Congress.

The site, Change Congress, will use a Google maps-based mashup to show which members of Congress are acting in accordance to the principles espoused by the Web site.

The initiative asks each member of Congress to agree not to accept money from lobbyists, to support public financing of campaigns, and to work up legislation that would make the workings of Congress more transparent, and that would bar earmark spending on district-specific projects of questionable worth.

Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives can sign a pledge to execute these tasks on the site.

The site also calls on citizens to report on how well their congressional representatives adhere to these principles. Their input will help color-code the map.

"What this map will reveal, we believe, is something that not many now actually realize: That the support for fundamental reform is broad and deep. That recognition in turn will encourage more to see both the need for reform and the opportunity that this election gives us to achieve it," Lessig wrote in an entry on the Huffington Post blog.

Lessig said that he plans to support the site by private donations, and will hire a small staff to maintain it, he told Wired News.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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